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French Wine

France is synonymous with fine wines and, despite the popularity of wine from the New World, French wines remain the benchmark against which all other wines are judged. French wine production is steeped in history dating back to the 6th. century B.C. and traditions which go back to the time vineyards were planted widely by the Romans. The success of French wines is rooted in the geography and geology of the country. The influence of the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and the land-mass of Europe on France's climate together with the rich diversity of propitious geology and soil types have enabled the establishment of ten wine growing regions of the best quality alongside a large number of other vineyard areas.

The German influence of Alsace, the celebration that is Champagne, the crisp herbal qualities of the Loire whites, the complexities of Bordeaux and Burgundy, the decidedly different wines of Jura in Franche-Comté, the fruitiness of Beaujolais and the power and sun-drenched ripeness of the wines from the northern and southern Rhône as well as the wines from Provence, the Languedoc and the South West exemplify the wide range of wines and styles of table wine that underline France's pre-eminence in the world of wine.

France was the first country to enshrine its wine production in law – the development of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system in the 1920s successfully introduced minimum standards both in the vineyard and winery and related this inextricably with the concept of “terroir”, an idea which unifies geographical location, soil and sub-soil, grape variety, climate (including micro-climate) and viticultural practices. The number of AOC wines in France now numbers in excess of 300 some of which are from very small vineyard plots with tiny production levels. Others, such as AOC Côtes du Rhône, cover vast areas with a commensurate production volume.

Despite the large scale transition to other cash-crops in the flatlands of the south of France since the 1970s and an even greater emphasis on quality wine production France continues to be the world's largest wine producing country. The challenge of so-called New World wines from Australia, South Africa, Chile etc. has been the motivation for some producers to explore possibilities outside of the AOC system and plant different grape varieties to make what some perceive to be more popular, easier drinking, styles of wine. Such wines are now sold under the classification of I.G.P. (Indication Géographique Protégée) as part of new E.U. regulations governing their former title of Vin de Pays. Some of these wines can be very good indeed and command high prices in the market-place.

  1.  Château du Domaine de l’Eglise, Pomerol, 2005

    Château du Domaine de l’Eglise, Pomerol, 2005

    A very good Pomerol that is drinking well now and which has many years of life left in it.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  2. Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe , Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 1985

    Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe , Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 1985

    From one of the most highly rated estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The 1985 vintage is still a complex red wine featuring wood smoke, cigar box and some spice on the nose and palate.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Châteauneuf du Pape Blend Red
    Country France

    £134.40

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  3. 'Les Sarres' Domaine Rijckaert, Côtes du Jura, 2009

    'Les Sarres' Domaine Rijckaert, Côtes du Jura, 2009

    A delicious Chardonnay from the less well-known Côtes du Jura region in eastern France made by wine-maker Jean Rijkaert

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  4. Charles Thomas, Gevrey-Chambertin Champfranc, 2005

    Charles Thomas, Gevrey-Chambertin Champfranc, 2005

    2005 was a great year in Burgundy for Côte de Nuits reds and this example, which is still evolving, is available at an excellent price.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  5. Chassenay d'Arce Confidences Brut, Champagne

    Chassenay d'Arce Confidences Brut, Champagne

    Superb luxury cuvée from Chassenay d'Arce made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from selected plots. Released with 6 years bottle age this Champagne has an extremely fine mousse.

    Details
    Colour Sparkling Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  6. Chassenay d'Arce, Cuvée Première Brut, Champagne

    Non-vintage Champagne made from 60% Pinot Noir for its power and finesse and 40% Chardonnay to add a mineral freshness. Gold lemon colour with beautifully fine mousse and a rich nose with spicy and floral notes with hints of honey and yellow fruits.

    Details
    Colour Sparkling Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  7. Chassenay d'Arce, Cuvée Première Brut, Champagne Jeroboam

    Chassenay d'Arce, Cuvée Première Brut, Champagne (Jeroboam)

    This Chassenay d'Arce, Cuvée Première Brut Champagne is in a 3 liter (Jeroboam) sized bottle which is just perfect for special occasions such as a wedding or Christening party.

    Details
    Colour Sparkling Wine
    Grape Variety Champagne Blend, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
    Country France

    £184.80

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  8. Chassenay d'Arce, Cuvée Première Brut, Champagne (Magnum)

    Chassenay d'Arce, Cuvée Première Brut, Champagne (Magnum)

    Chassenay d'Arce's flagship Champagne which was matured in cellar for 3 years before being released for sale.

    Details
    Colour Sparkling Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  9. Chassenay d'Arce, Rosé Brut, Champagne

    Chassenay d'Arce, Rosé Brut, Champagne

    Rosé Brut Champagne from Chassenay d'Arce made from a blend of 65% Pinot Noir with 35% Chardonnay grapes to produce a Champagne with elegance and finesse.

    Details
    Colour Sparkling Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  10. Chateau Bernadotte, Haut-Medoc, 2007

    Chateau Bernadotte, Haut-Medoc, 2007

    This vintage was ravaged by summer storms but the quality was rescued by good weather in September producing a deliciously soft red wine.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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