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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. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

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    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

  10. 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

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