The supremacy of France as a wine producing nation lies in the fact that it produces more great wines then any other country, and in many cases their wines form the model and set the benchmarks for others to follow.
Recent times have proven a challenging year for French wine producers but a rewarding one for wine enthusiasts. For French producers the whole concept of “terroir” is sacrosanct and over a very long period they have been able to identify the ideal “climats” for their different grape varieties. For you to fully benefit from this learning it is essential to decide on the style of wine you enjoy, relate this style to the relevant region but most importantly familiarise yourself with the actual producer. There are 100’s of Chateauneuf-du-Papes most are good but some are outstanding and these are the ones that should be sought out.
The great region of Champagne continues to prosper and unquestionably produces the world’s greatest sparkling wines.
The great red wine producing area of Bordeaux continues to enjoy great success with the classified growths. Our tip is to also follow the 2nd wines of the top Chateaux as they consistently offer exceptional value. Stylistically they are very similar to “le Grand Vin”.
Burgundy is home to some of the world’s greatest red and white wines made from the Pinot Noir grape and Chardonnay grape respectively. Great red Pinot Noir from a great terroir like Echézeaux is a sublime experience assuming you have tracked down one of the great producers. A minerally Chablis from a premier or grand cru vineyard in this northern Burgundy appellation can be exhilarating, a rich oaked chardonnay from Meursault can be inspiring. For those who enjoy a fruity style of wine the Beaujolais region, home to the appellations of Fleurie and Moulin a Vent can produce wines of this type from the Gamay grape.
The Loire Valley is a great white wine producing area, producing mouth-wateringly fresh minerally Sauvignon Blancs in the appellations of Pouilly-Fume and Sancerre and some incredible Chenin Blancs throughout the valley. Yet it is still best know for its Muscadets.
For sheer good value Southern France appellations in the Languedoc-Rousillon area can produce some remarkably complex reds from blends of the Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes.
France has a unique competitive advantage due to the exceptional and extensive terroirs that it has been bestowed with. The wines of this country warrant much exploration. Sante!
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