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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. 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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  2. Le Clos du Caillou, Côtes du Rhône, Le Bouquet des Garrigues, 2003

    Le Clos du Caillou, Côtes du Rhône, Le Bouquet des Garrigues, 2003

    Aged in old barrels, this southern Rhône red is a warming, spicy red that has enough body to partner it with a range of winter roasts, stews and casseroles.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Country France

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  3. Les Galets du Haut, Louis Bernard, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2011

    Les Galets du Haut, Louis Bernard, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2011

    A delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape that drinks well at a younger age than many wines from this appellation.

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

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  4. Michel & Stephane Ogier Syrah l'Ame Soeur, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, 2006

    Michel & Stephane Ogier Syrah l'Ame Soeur, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, 2006

    A humble vin de Pays which utterly belies its designation this is a glorious northern Rhône wine full of rich fruit and herb flavours. 100% Syrah.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country France

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  5. Paul Avril Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2008

    Paul Avril, Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2008

    Another very good vintage of this wine which deserves a very good winter game dish to showcase its quality.

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

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  6. Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Crozes-Hermitage, Les Jalets, 2010

    Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Crozes-Hermitage, Les Jalets, 2010

    The wines of Paul Jaboulet Aîné have always been good but the last decade has seen further improvement as can be tasted with this warming Crozes-Hermitage .

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country France

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  7. Tardieu-Laurent, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2007

    Tardieu-Laurent, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2007

    Although a modern style Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a fruit-forward approach it will nevertheless evolve for another 10 years yet.

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

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  8. Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, 2010

    Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, 2010 is a great value northern Rhône red characterised by its freshness, fruitiness, incredibly dark colour and wonderfully long finish.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country France

    Out of stock

  9. Chateau Grillet (Neyret-Gachet), 2007

    Chateau Grillet (Neyret-Gachet), 2007

    The Viognier grapes of Chateau Grillet grow in a natural amphitheatre in the Northern Rhone close to Condrieu, the other famous home of this most deliciously aromatic of white grapes.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Viognier
    Country France

    £80.00

    Out of stock

  10. Château St-Jean, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2011

    Château St-Jean, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2011

    A fruity Châteauneuf-du-Pape with plenty of fleshy texture to keep the cold at bay .

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

    Out of stock

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