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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. La Picoutine Cinsault Grenache Rosé, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2012

    La Picoutine Cinsault Grenache Rosé, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2012

    La Croix produces wines of great value and consistency and its La Picoutine rosé makes for a great refreshing summer drink. It is a lively blend of Cinsault and Grenache grapes which come together nicely to forge a nose of summer berries with a zesty strawberry palate.

    Details
    Colour Rosé Wine
    Grape Variety Cinsault, Grenache
    Country France

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  2. Domaine de Saint Préfert Collection Charles Giraud, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2009 (Magnum)

    Domaine de Saint Préfert Collection Charles Giraud, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2009 (Magnum)

    The Domaine de Saint Préfert Collection Charles Giraud, 2009, is a profound red wine from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is remarkably complex and is a result of meticulous wine-making and great attention to the vineyards. It has a good strong nose with notes of licorice, incense, lavender, new saddle leather, blackberry and kirsch along with some tree bark and roasted meats.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, Mourvedre
    Country France

    Out of stock

  3. Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2010

    Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2010

    The superb 2010 Gigondas from Domaine Raspail-Ay, exhibits a dense ruby/purple colour along with notes of spring flowers, black raspberries, kirsch, crushed rocks and garrigue in a full-bodied, richly fruity, gorgeously textured and pure style. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah
    Country France

    Regular Price: £20.49

    Special Price:

    £16.99

    Out of stock

  4. /

    Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2011

    In the Southern Rhone it would be virtually impossible to find a red wine as good and as reasonably priced as the Gigondas from Dominique Ay.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, GSM Blend, Mourvedre, Syrah
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2012

    Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2012

    A wonderful expression of this appellation close to Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône. A big, hugely impressive red wine which deserves fine cuisine such as red meats and game dishes.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, Syrah
    Country France

    Out of stock

  6. Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Noir, Tuchan, 2011

    Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Noir, Tuchan, 2011

    This is a lovely example of the Grenache Noir grape's capacity to please and is approachable even when still very young and usually works best with food rather than as a drink on its own.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache
    Country France

    Out of stock

  7. Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Noir, Tuchan, 2012

    Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Noir, Tuchan, 2012

    A soft and generous Grenache wine that offers delicious drinking now.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache
    Country France

    Out of stock

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