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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. Claudie Jobard, Rully Rouge La Chaume, 2010

    Claudie Jobard, Rully Rouge La Chaume, 2010

    Somewhat unusually a red wine from the appellation of Rully, more well-known for its white wines. An appealing wine made with Pinot Noir grapes it has typical perfumes of delicate red fruits with a refined elegance with more finesse than one normally expects from this appellation.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  2. Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2012

    Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2012

    Classic Chablis in a clean, fruit-driven style with no oak whatsoever with a layer of minerality as befits this appellation.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  3. Domaine de Courcel, Pommard Grand Clos des Épenots, 1993

    Domaine de Courcel, Pommard Grand Clos des Épenots, 1993

    Giving plenty of body, this dark ruby coloured Pommard has fresh black fruit, cassis and tar integrated well with sweet oak. It is deep, powerful and has good concentration to go with its strong, firm character.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  4. Domaine Ponsot, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Vieilles Vignes, 1997

    Domaine Ponsot, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Vieilles Vignes, 1997

    This Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Vieilles Vignes, 1997, is rich, elegant and complex. Fully mature and still drinking very well.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  5. La Pucelle Domaine Roux, Saint-Aubin, 2011

    La Pucelle Domaine Roux, Saint-Aubin, 2011

    White Burgundy from the Côte de Beaune with tropical fruit, peach and a hint of cinnamon spice.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  6. Maison Nicolas Potel, Auxey-Duresses Blanc, 2006

    Maison Nicolas Potel, Auxey-Duresses Blanc, 2006

    A light gold white Burgundy boasting citrus, orange and fresh almond with a stylish bouquet. The good attack on the palate develops delicious floral, nut and mineral flavours.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  7. Maison Nicolas Potel, Morey-St-Denis, 2008

    Maison Nicolas Potel, Morey-St-Denis, 2008

    This village red Burgundy from Morey St. Denis is produced from the fruit of old vines with an average age of 50 years. Rich red fruits and black fruits, cocoa beans and toasted notes from the barrel ageing are also noticeable.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  8. Maison Nicolas Potel, Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains, 2007

    Maison Nicolas Potel, Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains, 2007

    A big, complex nose of black fruits, red cherries, raspberries and minerals characterise this wine. With a clean yet concentrated palate this wine creates an immediate impression.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  9. Maison Nicolas Potel, Santenay 1er Cru Clos Rousseau, 2006

    Maison Nicolas Potel, Santenay 1er Cru Clos Rousseau, 2006

    A mature 1er cru Santenay which is a deep red in colour with a complex nose of violets, gooseberries and black cherries. It is a complex wine which has great fruit concentration and a long finish.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

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  10. Terroirs de Courgis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2013

    Terroir de Courgis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2013

    Patrick Piuze makes fabulous Chablis and the 2013 Terroir de Courgis is a pale golden colour with a tropical fruit nose and a touch of yeasty bread aromas.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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