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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 Teyssier, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2008

    Château Teyssier, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2008

    This wine has a deep ruby/purple colour and its combination of soft berry fruits and earthiness makes for an irresistible wine.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  2. Château Vieux-Sarpe, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2005

    Château Vieux-Sarpe, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2005

    Château Vieux-Sarpe made a very good wine in 2005 which still has plenty of life left in it.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  3. Couvent des Jacobins, Saint Emilion Grand Cru

    Couvent des Jacobins, Saint Emilion Grand Cru

    From an old wine estate situated on the outskirts of St. Emilion. It gained grand cru status in 2006 at the same time that its name was changed to Clos des Jacobins.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    £29.99

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  4. La Closerie de Fourtet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2009

    La Closerie de Fourtet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2009

    Still quite young this really needs 1-2 hours decanting to show its best at the moment but waiting for it to open up is time well spent.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  5. Château Berliquet, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, 2005

    Château Berliquet, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, 2005

    2005 was a very good year in St. Emilion and this is a lovely, well-priced example.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  6. Château Faurie de Souchard, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 1969

    Château Faurie de Souchard, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 1969

    Château Faurie de Souchard is a grand cru classé from the Saint Emilion appellation located near Libourne.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    £12.00

    Out of stock

  7. Château Fleur Cardinale, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1996

    Château Fleur Cardinale, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1996

    Easy-drinking style of right-bank Bordeaux with a lovely, supple mouth feel.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  8. Château La Dominique, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1982 (Magnum)

    Château La Dominique, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1982 (Magnum)

    Consistent over-achiever from Saint-Emilion in a magnum.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    £102.15

    Out of stock

  9. Château La Dominique, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1996

    Château La Dominique, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1996

    This is a smoky, oaky wine with red fruits and herbs on the nose. Dark ruby/purple colour.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Country France

    Out of stock

  10. Château Le Tertre Rôteboeuf, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2010

    Château Le Tertre Rôteboeuf, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2010

    A rich and concentrated St. Emilion with a lovely silky texture which is almost without faults. An intense, fresh and elegant Saint-Emilion with a complex, refined and ripe nose and a delicious palate preceding an exceptionally long finish.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

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