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STEP ONE Order by the region, not the wine style. France's appellation structure prohibits most wine-making regions from making anything but one particular style of wine. So instead of asking for a shiraz, ask for a Cotes du Rhone. If you want a pinot noir, ask for a red burgundy. And if you've an eye on your wallet, avoid the big regions of Bordeaux and Bourgogne (Burgundy) and go to the sub-regions, such as Provence for rose´ or Occitanie and the Loire region for whites or red. Be adventurous.
STEP TWO To call your waiter, instead of a very Australian "Excuse me!" try "Madam? Monsieur?'.' Garcon is not used so often these days. And in France now, the service is included, so you don't have to tip extra – unless you want to.
STEP THREE Australians tend to drink more quickly than Europeans. They don't necessarily drink more, but just faster. Instead, savour the wine.
STEP FOUR In Paris, wine by the glass is usually very reliable and affordable. We are often being ripped off here in Australia, so don't be put off by the low prices. The wine offered by the glass may not be the cheapest of the cheap, but it'll be a wine the restaurateur is proud of, and has obtained through his contacts. There are also a lot of half-litre (50cl) bottles available, which let you try a range of wines.
STEP FIVE In France, wine is made to drink with food, so when the food is finished, so is the red wine. Parisians don't tend to stay at the restaurant and order another bottle. Of course, you could, but if you're following the culture of the country, why not move from the restaurant to the terrace of a cafe, where you can admire the Notre Dame with a glass of wine?
Gabriel presents Taste le Tour with Gabriel Gate on SBS TV in July.