French wines


FRENCH WINES

Wine Laws of France

 All major vineyards/quality French wines which achieve certain standards and comply with regulations laid down for each area, region or district are classified by Appellation controlee system (AC for short) set up under French law. Some vineyards have been given a right to use certain place names as an indication of origin. They must fall within official area of Appellation and obey constraints concerning the density of vines; the types of vines planted the production and alcoholic strength etc.
The controls are organized by or governed by the Institut National des Appellations d' origine (INAO). AC is a guarantee of origin of wine. AC wines are of highest quality that adheres strictly to production requisites i.e.
•    An exactly defined growing area
•    The type and blend of grape varieties used ' Care of vineyard and grafting
•    Maximum harvest per acre
•    Minimum alcohol content
•    Wine production and storage methods
•    Official tasting, final grading of wine. There are five grades as given below are five grades as given below:

Grade 1 AOC Appellation d’ origin controlee

Only 25% of French wines get AOC certificate, the more specific the AOC, better is the wine e.g. Appellation bordeaux Controlee or Bordeaux AOC means that wine is produced in Bordeaux region of France. If further details like following are mentioned indicates better quality wine.
Like Appellation Medoc Controlee (Me'doc is a district in bordeaux)
Like St. Julien AOC (St. Julien is a village in Medoc)
Like Chateau La Grange (La grange is Vineyard in St. Julien)
So a more specific wine name better wine is. To judge a wine name of country, the district, the village, vineyard is very much important.

Grade 2 vins delimites de qualite superieure(VDQS)

It is a grade down from AOC. This is an official category of French wine, and was introduced in 1949. VDQS wines are of a high quality from a limited growing area, these account for less tha 5% of French wine. VDQS wines are subject to regulation like:
•    Growing area
•    Grape variety
•    Minimum alcohol content
•    Cultivation and wine production

Grade 3 vin de pays (Country wines)

It means wine of the country. Vin de pays has its birth certificate i.e. it carries reference to geographical area e.g. Vin de pays Chablis.
Grade 4 Vin De Table (Wine of the table)
The table wines are meant to be almost consumed in the country. It is meant for everyday use and does not improve with age.

Grade 5 Vin Ordinaire

In France Vin Ordinaire has a definite connotation. Its price depends upon its strength. It is almost always red. In Germany it is called Konsumwein, in Spain Vino corriente (current of running wine), in Portugal consume.

Alsace

This region is very unique. French and German influences play an equal role in sculpting Alsace’s language, traditions, and even its wines. It is also the only region in France that sells its wine according to the name of the grape variety, and it has done so for quite some time. Another paradoxical fact is that Alsace is not only an important economic region with a highly dense population, but also an important agricultural and wine producing region. Although Alsace is one of France’s northernmost areas, its summers are hot and sunny and it is the driest region in the country. Winegrowing is a top priority here, and the region produces fine aromatic and heady white wines, two excellent examples of which are Gewürztraminer and Riesling.
CLIMATE
Though many French people consider Alsace to be a northern region, few know that summers here can be warmer than 30°C and that the sun shines more than the national average. Its climate is dictated by the Vosges Mountains, which protect the Rhine Valley from Atlantic disturbances from the west. There is extensive rainfall in western Alsace due to its altitude, and the air is warmed as it descends to the east. This is where the vineyards are located, basking in the morning and midday sun. These favorable weather conditions often last well into the fall season, allowing the grapes to over ripen and become affected by the fungus Botrytis cinerea (noble rot), which is necessary in order to produce “late harvest” and “selection of noble berries” sweet wines.
ART OF LIVING
In Alsace, the wine-growing region seems to be timeless. It overlooks the Alsatian plains, away from the turmoil of a bustling economy that adjoins three different countries. The vineyards encircle a multitude of small red-roofed villages clustered around churches with pointed steeples. Half-timbered houses with red and pink geraniums in every window dot the peaceful countryside like a scene from a postcard. The well-organized vineyards are a reminder of how the Alsatians themselves love order, and the many gourmet restaurants and winstubs are a reminder of how good life is in France. It is this duality, cultivated for many years, that makes Alsace so special. Its savoir vivre, welcoming spirit and dedication to making the best wine possible keep this region at the top of the list.
LAND
The Alsatian plains, large strips of rich river soils lining the banks of the Rhine, were formed by the collapse of the Vosges-Black Forest Mountains over five million years ago. The Alsatian vineyards are located on the edge of these plains along the length of the Vosges fault line. Three main types of lands exist in this region. The first is located in the highest and steepest sites and consists of acidic, well-drained granite and sand soils. It is here that the Grand Crus and most distinctive terroirs are found. The second consists of well-drained limestone or marl hills at elevations of 200-300 meters. These form the heart of Alsace’s wine production area, dotted with villages abloom with flowers. The third is perched on high alluvial terraces of river stones, sand and gravel.

Alsace Wine Information

Alsace produces excellent dry and sweet white wines. They are so typical that the grape varieties used only grow in Alsace and nowhere else.
The most basic information on the wine in Alsace are:
•    Location: North East of France, between the Vosges and the Rhine river
Alsace region information: Size: 190km long and 50km wide (120 x 30 miles) smallest region in France Size of the vineyards: 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres)
Grapes in Alsace:
•    Riesling (23% of Alsace wines)
•    Pinot Blanc (20%)
•    Gewurztraminer (18%)
•    Tokay Pinot Gris (13%)
•    Sylvaner (12%)
Production: 165 million bottles +90% of Alsace wines are white
Type of Wine: Refreshing dry and sweet white wine

Wines from Alsace

More than 90% of the wines in Alsace are white. Riesling and Gewurzt are among the best white wines in France. Wine makers raise them in a style you can't find no where else but in a wine from Alsace.
The most important wines in Alsace are:
Riesling (23% of Alsace wines)
Gewurztraminer (18%)
Pinot Blanc (20%)
Tokay Pinot Gris (13%)
Sylvaner (12%)
Crémant d'Alsace (a sparkling wine)
Other wines from Alsace are: Vendanges Tardives (late harvest), Edelzwicker, Muscat,
Pinot Noir, etc.
ALSACE WINES and CREMANT
• GEWURZTRAMINER " Vendanges Tardives" Late harvest
• SYLVANER
• PINOT BLANC
• RIESLING
• RIESLING "Cuvée Passion" Passion Vintage
• MUSCAT
• TOKAY PINOT GRIS
• TOKAY PINOT GRIS "Cuvée Passion" Passion Vintage
• GEWURZTRAMINER
• GEWURZTRAMINER "Cuvée Passion" Passion Vintage
• PINOT NOIR
• ROUGE D'ALSACE Alsace Red Wine
• CREMANT D'ALSACE
• TOKAY PINOT GRIS Grand Cru " Sonnenglanz

BORDEAUX

The city of Bordeaux and the surrounding region occupy the coveted lands dividing northern and southern France. A large city grand enough to be a capital, it is reminiscent of Anvers or Versailles and has an international economy. Its architectural style evokes Paris more so than the villages of the Mediterranean. However, Bordeaux’s climate and the lifestyle of its people make it a city of the south. Surfers rude the waves nearby, warm summers and white sandy expanses of beaches draw outdoor enthusiasts, and its cuisine shows Basque and Spanish influences. Soccer and Rugby are popular pastimes as well. This perfect balance between northern and southern characteristics also appears in Bordeaux’s vineyards and wines.
CLIMATE
Without the presence of the Gulf Stream current, which warms the Northern Atlantic all the way to Norway, according to its latitude Bordeaux would be just as cold as New York. However, this is not the case. The summer heat and the beautiful fall season allow its grapes to ripen to perfection. Though the vineyards are shielded from the salty breezes of the nearby Atlantic by the largest pine forest in Europe, the ocean still tempers the summer heat and provides much needed rain for the vineyards. The large estuary of the Gironde, which extends more than 100 km inland, also contributes to the temperate weather conditions. This same poise and harmony are found in the region’s wines. While they are bursting with sunlight, they are neither overly exuberant nor overly heavy, and instead strike the perfect balance between the two.
ART OF LIVING
Bordeaux, like its climate, is a transitional city. It is essentially part of both the north and the south of France. The period of English rule during the Middle Ages granted it a certain sense of composure and class, and from its commercial dealings with the Hanse and the Netherlands it has retained its professionalism and openness to the world. From the time of Louis XIV, it has maintained its straight-lined, traditional architecture, which can be seen in its numerous castles built of pale stone. However, Bordeaux also moves to a Latin beat. It is a city of good food and celebration, as its population originated from all over Aquitaine, which borders Spain, and it is closer to Bilbao and Toulouse than it is to Paris.
LANDS
Bordeaux’s mosaic of different types of land comes from two main sources. On the left bank of the Garonne and along its estuary for more 150 km, the soils are primary alluvial. These soils are particularly special as they contain polished river stones called graves that were carried downriver more than 600 km from the Pyrenees. They are contained in warm, well-drained terraces that perfectly suited for growing grapes, and particularly for Cabernet Sauvignon. On the other side of the river, the landscape is more rounded and earthy, with clay-limestone riverbanks and hills as well as deeper soils that are excellent for varieties like Merlot. These soils are both alluvial and sedimentary and contain a significant amount of limestone.
•    Some Great wines of Bordeaux are :
–    Chateau Haut-Brion                    Graves
–    Chateau Lafit Rothschild            Pauillac
–    Chateau Latour                             Pauillac
–    Chateau Margaux                          Margaux
–    Chateau Mouton Rothschild ( 1973 )    Pauillac
–    Chateau D’ Yquem                       Sauternes
–    Chateau Petrus                             Pomerol
–    Chateau Cheval Blanc                  St. Emilion
–    Chateau Ausone                           St. Emilion

Bordeaux districts-

A.    Medoc
When young are full, heavy and tannic
After maturing- delicious, cmplex, often rich, peppery fruit, spicy/cigar box, (cedar wood) overtones.
The medoc comprises sixteen communes. The finest Medoc comes from the communes of the following
1)    Margaux has Premier Crus wines
Chateaux margaux- red wine
Margaux vintage (half the coast of chateau margaux) - red wine
2)    St. Julien has second growth wines
Chateau Gruad-larose- red wine
Chateau lagrange- red wine
3)    Paulliac first growths (premier crus)
Chateau mouton Rothschild – red wine
Chateau lafite Rothschild - red wine
Chateau latour – red wine
4)    St. Estephe has few classed growths
Chateau Cos d’ Estournel – red wine
Chateau Calon – segur – red wine
Chateau Montrose – red wine

B.    Graves-
The Graves district (so called because of the gravel soil) extends in a straight line with a long strip of Medoc but beyond Bordeaux to the south-east In England this name is associated with dry or medium dry white wines. Although the Graves region produces both dull red and dry white wines. It is often said that the reds have a "Gout De Terroir" that is to say a taste of soil. The Graves is a big region geographically,, with over 500 different chateaus. The wines of this region have beautiful colour, full body and bouquet with a faint perfume of pine.
The region has been split into two; Graves and the smaller Pessac - Leognan.
Bouscaut**
Haut-bailly****
Carboneaux***
Domaine de chevalier*****
De fieuzal***
D’olivier**
Malartic-lagraviere**
La tour-martillac**
Smith haut lafite***
Haut brion****
La mission haut brion****
Pape clement****
La tour haut brion***
C.    St. emillion
This region is adjoining Pomerol, is in chalk hill country and the wines are grown on chalk and clay there are some three hundred chateaux. St. Emillion produces soft, velvety, heavy, full bodied and rich wines with less bouquet and dinesse than those of the Medoc. They mature rapidly. They are described as BURGUNDY of BORDEAUX.
St. emillion us typified by two-premier grand Cru classe
First growth-A only two chateaux fall under this category
Ausone****
Cheval blanc*****
Premier grand cru Classe B
Beausejour****
Belair***
Canon*****
Clos fourtet***
Figeac****
La gaffeliere****
Magdelaine****
Pavie****
Trottevieille***
D.    Pomerol
Pomerol is a small region on the left bank of the river Dordogne, to the north east of Uboume, Pomerol has not palatial or historical fascinating chateau, like chateau Margaux in Medoc. This region came to be known after Second World War and has no official classification. The wine which has worldwide first growth status is:
Chateau Petrus***** - Red wine
Other wines are
Lafleur*****
Bon Pasteur***
Certan de may
Clinet
L’evangile
La fleur de gay
La fleur petrus
Le gay
Latour a pomerol
Petit village
Le pin
Trotanoy
Vieux chateau certan
E.    Sauterns
Still farther South-east beyond Graves is the Sauternes district, which includes smaller communes i.e.
a) Barsac
(b) Preignac
c)  Bommes
(d) Fargues
All the wines of Sauternes are very sweet white wines from Sauvignon blanc, Semillon and a small percentage of muscadelle grapes. The only wines which may be compared to sauternes are German Beerenauslesen made from Reisling grape. Sauternes are luscious, delicate, very sweet having remarkable flavour of its own, leave the palate fresh.
Noble rot or Botrytis cinerea to give is correct Latin name is fundamental to great wines of sauterns. The ideal condition for noble rot or botrytis to appear are the damp, misty mornings and sunny afternoons which happen in the late autumn and early winter is sauterns. The overripe grapes become infected by noble not, puncturing the skin and covering them with fine wispy beard of mould.
The noble rot spreads unevenly therefore the best producers pick up the grape individually, rather than in bunches. As the grapes shrivel up the acidity reduces and sugar content increases because of loss of water in grapes. Sauternes grapes have high super concentration i.e. 17 percent to 25 percent. Wines have 13-15% alcohol content. Sauternes with age become golden yellow in colour.
EXAMPLES
Premier Grand Cru
 Chateau d' Yquem - Sweet white wine
Premier Cru Superieur
Chateau Coulet (Barsac) - Sweet white wine
Chateau Climens (Barsac) - Sweet white wine
Chateau Suduiraut (Preignac) - Sweet white wine
Chateau Rieussec (Fargues) - Sweet white wine
Chateau la tour blanche (Bommes) – Sweet white wine

BURGUNDY

Burgundy has a long history of striving for excellence. The Bourbons, who dominated an area that extended all the way to the North Sea, built its cities and its vineyards with much splendor, and the Cistercian monks lent a hand in the Middle Ages. It is also a huge agricultural region with sweeping views that encompass regions ranging from the Morvan, which is one of France’s coolest, most rainy areas, to the Côte Chalonnaise, a peaceful wine country with sunny, warm weather. In fact, based on the methods used in the Côte Chalonnaise, all vineyards in Burgundy are now located on hillsides in order to obtain the best sun exposure. In Burgundy’s continental climate, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are used to produce its world-renowned wines.
CLIMATE
Located far from the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Burgundy has a continental climate with cold winters. However, winegrowers have discovered how to take advantage of the warmest lands, even in Chablis, its northernmost area. In the southern part of the region, on a narrow, 150-km-long strip of land with the best eastern and southern exposure, the most hearty and adaptable varieties have been cultivated since the Middle Ages. Despite their northern climate, the Burgundian hills are protected from the dry, cold northerly winds, known as the Bise, and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive on the warm summer and autumn sun to produce world-famous results.
ART OF LIVING
Burgundy’s wine country provides an excellent illustration of the stereotype of the French winemaker: a secretive artisan who is passionate about wine and operates in harmony with the land and nature. This is due to the fact that there are many wine estates in Burgundy and their average size is very small. There are a significant number of small producers that are motivated by their love for their craft and the art of winemaking. The secretive ambiance can be found in many of the numerous winemaking villages that are scattered across the region and in the quiet vineyards and wineries themselves. However, this age-old rural culture does emerge to host festive wine celebrations, such as Saint Vincent Day, when the doors of the winery are thrown open and the secrets of winemaking are shared with all.
LANDS
Due to the large size of Burgundy’s wine country, there is not one terroir to consider, but many. However, they can be divided into three main categories. The first, located in the north, is that of Chablis. It consists of mostly limestone hills with some sedimentary fossils, and is located in the Parisian Basin. The second includes Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune and consists of a narrow 50 km strip of steep, limestone soils overlooking the Saone River, a tributary of the Rhone. There is a different hydrologic system here that is warmer than that of Chablis. The third category, including Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais, consists of deeper clay-limestone soils stretched over larger hills that are affected by Mediterranean influences.

Wine regions of burgundy

I)    The Chablis region – produces mostly white wines
II)    The Cote  D’ Or – split into two areas
Cote de nuiits – produces red wine
Cote de beaune -  produces red and white wine
III)    Cote Chalonnaise – famous for red and white wine
IV)    The Maconnais – mostly red wine
The classification system of Burgundy
Burgundy's classification system works by vineyard, not by owner or chateau and has two categories:
i) Grand cru (equivalent to Bordeaux's premier crus)
(ii) premier cru (equivalent to Bordeaux's Deuxiemes to cinquiemes crus)
In Burgundy the vineyard area of Le Montrachet is classified as a Grand cru and also has its own appellation. The problem is there are different owners of Le Montrachet, all of whom produce different styles of wine. Therefore, one should look for producer's name on the label.
The Main Grape Varieties of Burgundy
For Red Wines  (i) PinotNoir (ii) Gamay
For white wines
(i)    Chardonnay (ii)Aligote

1.     The Chablis Region;

 Chablis, after the town of same name is not only, most famous Burgundy's white wine but one of France's too. Chablis can be matured in oak barrels and stainless vats. Oak barrels are used for later maturing wine; steel vats for bottling the wine for early drinking.
Some of the best vineyards to look for on label after the name chablis and under category of Grand cru are
(a)    Blanchot – dry white wine, full bodied
(b)    Bougros - dry white wine, full bodied
(c)    Les Clos - dry white wine, full bodied
(d)    Grenouilles - dry white wine, full bodied
(e)    Les Preuses - dry white wine, full bodied
(f)    Valmur - dry white wine, full bodied
(g)    Vaudesir - dry white wine, full bodied
All above wines go well with oysters.
 Chablis Premier Cru
(a)    Cote de Lechet
(b)    Vogros
(c)    Montmains

2.    The Cote D'Or:

 The Cote d'or is a narrow strip gently sloping, mostly east racing, hilly land that just starts south of Dijon at north end of Cote de nuits alongside of the hills. The Cote d'or (Hill of Gold) is Burgundy's backbone from north to south.
The Cote d’Or or produces red and dry white wine from fairly basic to some of the most fabulous wines in the world.
Red Wines
Gevery Chambetin
Chambertin
Clos De Vougeot
Romanee Conti
Nuits St. George
Corton
Cote De Beaune
Pommard
Volnay
Fixin
Chambolle – Musigny
La Tache
White wines
Montrachet
Meursaut
Corton Charlemagne
3.    Cote Chalonnaise (or region de Mercurey)  The cote chalonnaise is often said to produce wines like mini cote d’or wine. It produces red as well as white wines.
Red wines
Givry
Mercury
White wines
Bourgogne Aligote Bouzeron
Montagny
Rully
4.    The Maconnais It is situated roughly between Lyon and Beaune, the Maconnais stretches along the west of river Saone. This region produces predominantly white wine but some red wines also.
Red Wines
Macon Rouge
White wines
Macon - Villages
Pouilly - Fuisse
PouiIly - Loche
St. Veran

5.    BEAUJOLAIS

Beaujolais is a perfect picture postcard of the French countryside, with its string of beautiful hills culminating in a forested crest. Its villages are clustered across the landscape, complete with pointed steeples and happily playing children. To the east, there is a view of the Saone plains and on the horizon lies the white outline of the Alps and their crowning glory, Mont Blanc. But this is not all that Beaujolais has to offer. In this dynamic region near Lyon, the people live well, and aren’t afraid to say so. As the region is right on the border between the harsh climate of the north and the balmy weather of the south, its people tend to combine a northern sense of humor with a southern lifestyle. However, its wines display no such compromise and clearly exemplify the joy of the southern life.
CLIMATE
Near Lyon, the region of Beaujolais has a continental climate with dry, cold winters and hot summers. With eastern and southeastern exposure, its hillside vineyards are protected from the humid winds out of the west and benefit from sunny summer weather with Mediterranean influences. They extend along the length of the nearby Rhone Valley. The climate there is thus temperate and rarely cold. Gamay thrives in these mild weather conditions and ripens relatively early, allowing the grapes’ sugar content to increase. Their excellent sun exposure, sometimes on terraces, optimizes the ripening process.
ART OFLIVING
Life in Beaujolais revolves around the region’s numerous small villages and its generous climate. Good living and happiness are of utmost importance here. Beaujolais natives tend to be roguish, mischievous and good-natured, and the region’s wine tends to follow suit. There is always something to celebrate and the food is top-notch. The people of Lyon often come to escape to the vineyards and their simple and delicious taste in food is always well satisfied. A sense of the simple, good life dominates the region, and it is here where the tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau, released on the market on the third Thursday in November, began. It was as if the people of Beaujolais couldn’t wait a second longer to celebrate the arrival of the new vintage. These days the entire planet joins in the yearly celebration.
LAND
Two very different types of terroirs exist in Beaujolais. In the southern part of the region, the clay-limestone soils of the Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages appellations produce fruity red wines that should be enjoyed young—wines that exude joy and the pleasure of the moment. This area, the region’s largest, consists of a series of round grassy hills covered with vineyards that are well positioned for maximum sun exposure. In the north of the region, ten villages offer very different soils, composed primarily of shale and granite. It is here that Gamay thrives, with a wider array of aromas and a more powerful tannic structure. These ten crus can age for a longer period of time and are an excellent illustration of what Beaujolais’ terroir has to offer.

Wine: Beaujolais

Agnès et Marcel Durand Red Wine
strong rubyred color, fruity, light menthol smell, fine tannins, full body
Agnès et Marcel Durand Beaujolais-Villages
Aimée-Claude Bonnetain Red Wine
blue red color, scent of red fruit and spices, well structured, balanced, fruity, long, typical, ...
Aimée-Claude Bonnetain Côte de Brouilly
Alain Chatoux Vieilles vignes Red Wine
clar, dark orange red color, notable scent of red fruit with alcoholic notes, aromas of currant j...
Alain Chatoux
Alain Michaud Red Wine
delicious, deep orange-red color with bright red reflexes, smells of faded roases, spices, coffee...
Alain Michaud Brouilly
André Depardon La Madone Red Wine
dark red color, intense raspberry scent, full, fine, balanced, long flavor, rounded
André Depardon Fleurie
André Méziat Red Wine
clear, intense red color, strong scent of vineyard peaches and cherries, full-bodied, rich, soft,...
André et Monique Méziat Chiroubles
Belvedere des pierres dorées White Wine
shining yellow color, complex scent of rhubarb, and strawberries, lively, open, good composition
Cave coop. Beaujolaise
Bernard Broyer Red Wine
deep ruby red color with purple reflexes, expressive scent with citrusfruit, red fruit, and spice...
Bernard Broyer Juliénas
Bernard Jomain Red Wine
intense red color, almost blue, elegant nuances of black currants, strong, rustic
Bernard Jomain Brouilly
Bernard Lavis Red Wine
intense ruby-red color, smells of fresh red fruit, plants, clear, rounded, soft flavor, full
Bernard Lavis Beaujolais-Villages
Bernard Pichet Red Wine
orange-red color, hints of blossoms and raspberries, youthful, plant aromas, balanced
Bernard Pichet Chiroubles
Bernard Santé Red Wine
delicious orange-red color, strong, concentrated scent of licorice and flowers, very soft, sweet,...
Bernard Santé Chénas
Cave Beaujolaise de Quincié Red Wine
shining, clear, pepper-flowery scent, hints of very ripe grapes, open personality, rounded, long ...
Cave Beaujolaise de Quincié Régnié
Cave de Ponchon Red Wine
clear, lively, fruity flavor, well structured, harmonious, pretty
Florent Dufour Régnié
Cave de Saint-Vérand Cuvée réservée Vieilles vignes Red Wine
blue-red color, intense scent of red frui and spring roses, noble, clear, spicy notes, pleasant, ...
Cave Beaujolaise de Saint-Vérand
Cave des Vignerons de Bel-Air Red Wine
strong red color, pretty scent of black currants and tobacco, soft flavor with aromas of very rip...
Cave des Vignerons de Bel-Air Morgon
Cave des Vignerons de Liergues Rosé Wine
pretty, clear color with hints of autmn, pleasant scent of red currants and quinces, lively, soft...
Cave des Vignerons de Liergues
Cave du Beau Vallon Au pays des pierres dorées Red Wine
blue-red color, alcoholic-fruity scent of black currants and spices, full, rounded, aromas of sto...
Cave du Beau Vallon
Cave du Bois de La Salle Red Wine
clear, sparkling, smells of red currants and raspberries, well balanced, fresh, long, lively tann...
Cave du Château du Bois de La Salle Saint-Amour
Cave Jean-Ernest Descombes Red Wine
shining, tempting ruby-red color, intense scent of red fruit and spices, hints of roasted coffee ...
Cave Jean-Ernest Descombes Morgon
Cédric Martin White Wine
golden color, copper tone, free scent with cloves, gingerbread, and flowers, elegant apricot nuan...
Martin Cédric
Cellier de la Vieille Eglise Red Wine
deep ruby-red color, shimmers amber, bouquet of underwood and spicy fruit, lively, somewhat flesh...
Cellier de la Vieille Eglise Juliénas
Château Bonnet Elevé en fût de chêne Vieilles vignes Red Wine
blue-red color, lovely oak hints, vanilla, open
Pierre Perrachon Chénas
Château de Belleverne Red Wine
ruby-red color, smells of flowers and red fruit, sharp tannins, balanced
Sylvie Bataillard Saint-Amour
Château de Belleverne Red Wine
dark orange-red color, purple reflexes, complex, fine smell of raisins, flintstone, and red fruit...
Bataillard Père et Fils Chénas
Château de Chénas Red Wine
medium orange-red color, nuances of black currants and spring roses, warm, soft, well balanced, p...
Cave Château de Chénas Chénas
Château de la Prat Red Wine
strong red color, complex, elegant scent of very ripe grapes with mineral, strong, lively, pretty
Aujoux Juliénas
Château de Leynes White Wine
golden-yellow color, smells like the vine, good character, soft, harmonious
Jean Bernard
Château de Pizay Red Wine
deep orange red color, pretty aromas of red fruit, fine, clear, rich, balanced, delicious, enchan...
SCEA Domaine Château de Pizay
Château de Raousset Red Wine
intense ruby-red color with purple reflexes, fine, expressive scent of strawberries and currants,...
SCEA des Héritiers du Compte de Raousset Chiroubles
Château de Raousset Red Wine
intense red color, fruity scent, pleasant personality, strong, lasting Château de Raousset Morgon
Château de Vaux Cuvée traditionnelle Red Wine
light ruby-red color, crystal clear reflexes, very pretty scent of fresh grapes, elegant, harmoni...
Jacques et Marie-Ange de Vermont Beaujolais-Villages
Château des Boccards Red Wine
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CHAMPAGNE

With an annual average temperature of 10.5°C (51°F), Champagne is a cool land, exposed to the northerly winds and to the effects of Siberian anticyclones (winter high pressure systems). But it is just warm enough to ripen the area’s fine grape varieties. The vineyards of Champagne are located in the warmest microclimates of the region, which are those that are most sheltered from the northern winds. The mere presence of vineyards on these lands is a challenge, and the number of wars that have taken place here have not helped the cause. But over the centuries, winegrowers have learned how to tame these austere limestone soils to produce a product of great beauty. Since that time, Champagne has become the worldwide symbol of celebration, love and special occasions.

Champagne producers

The type of champagne producer can be identified from the abbreviations followed by the official number on the bottle:
• NM: Négociant manipulant. These companies (including the majority of the larger brands) buy grapes and make the wine
• CM: Coopérative de manipulation. Co-operatives that make wines from the growers who are members, with all the grapes pooled together
• RM: Récoltant manipulant. A grower that also makes wine from their own grapes
 SR: Société de récoltants. An association of growers making a shared Champagne but who are not a co-operative
• RC: Récoltant coopérateur. A co-operative member selling Champagne produced by the co-operative under its own name
• MA: Marque auxiliaire or Marque d'acheteur. A brand name unrelated to the producer or grower; the name is owned by someone else, for example a supermarket
• ND: Négociant distributeur. A wine merchant selling under his own name Bubbles
CLIMATE
Champagne has the harshest climate of any French winegrowing region. However, this clearly does not prevent it from producing world-famous wines. It contains the northernmost French vineyards, and winegrowers face risks each year as spring frosts are frequent after the grapevines have budded, summers are short and autumns are not consistently warm. It is not uncommon to see bed warmers dispersed in the vineyards at the end of April or beginning of May to prevent frost damage at night. But the soils are often located on slopes facing the sun to take advantage of every last ray of sunlight, and the varieties cultivated here seem to adapt well to the adversity.
ART OF LIVING
There is a certain sense of paradox in Champagne, created by the juxtaposition of the celebratory and seductive image of its wines, evoking the easy life where all troubles are forgotten, and the austerity of the region itself. Here, far from the Mediterranean and the South, winemakers keep one eye on the weather reports as they cultivate their vineyards with determination and tenacity. Toiling behind the walls of the great Champagne houses, they create a festive product for the rest of the planet. However, harsh landscapes and climate aside, these winemakers truly love their work. They are ready to uncork a bottle of Champagne for the slightest occasion, and are the first to get the festivities underway.
LANDS
Champagne is made from vineyards located on strictly registered parcels of land included in the AOC designation. They are located mainly on hillsides with excellent sun exposure near Reims and Epernay, the two cities that symbolize the Champagne industry. A thick layer of white chalk covers the region all the way into the city of Reims, where hundreds of kilometers of cellars were hollowed out over the centuries. This chalk provides conditions that allow the grapes to ripen more quickly, as it reflects the sunlight to warm the soils. All of the winemaking villages are ranked based on the crus that they contain. The best terroirs contain 100% crus and qualify for the Grand Cru designation.

Champagne Bottles

Side-by-side comparison of champagne bottles. (L to R) On ladder: magnum, full, half, quarter. On floor: Balthazar, Salmanazar, Methuselah, Jeroboam Champagne is mostly fermented in two sizes bottles, standard bottle (750 mL), and Magnum (1.5 L). In general, magnums are thought to be higher quality, as there is less oxygen in the bottle, and the volume to surface area favors the creation of appropriately-sized bubbles. However, there is no hard evidence for this view. Other bottle sizes, named for Biblical figures, are generally filled with Champagne that has been fermented in standard bottles or magnums.
List of bottle sizes:
• quarter bottle (aka. split or piccolo bottle) (187.5 or 200 ml) mainly used by airlines, hotel mini-bars and nightclubs.
• half-bottle (aka. Demi) (375 ml) used in restaurants
• bottle (aka. Imperial) (750 ml)
• Magnum (1.5 L) (equivalent to 2 bottles)
• Jeroboam (3 L) (4 bottles)
• Rehoboam (4.5 L) (6 bottles)
• Methuselah (6 L) (8 bottles)
• Salmanazar (9 L) (12 bottles)
• Balthazar (12 L) (16 bottles)
• Nebuchadnezzar (15 L) (20 bottles)
• Melchior (18 L) (24 bottles)
• Solomon (25 L)
• Primat (27 L) (36 bottles)
• Melchizedek (30 L) (40 bottles)
Sizes larger than Jeroboam are rare. Primat sized bottles - and as of 2002 Melchizedek sized bottles - are exclusively offered by the House Drappier. The same names are used for bottles containing wine and port; however Jeroboam, Rehoboam and Methuselah refer to different bottle volumes. On occasion unique sizes have been made for special occasions and people. The most notable example perhaps being the 20 fluid ounce/ 60cl. bottle (Imperial pint) made specially for Sir Winston Churchill by Pol Roger. This was served to Mr Churchill by his butler at 11am as he was getting up.

BRAND NAMES

ABELE
AYALA
KRUG
BESSERAT de BELLEFON
BILLECART-SALMON
BOLLINGER
LANSON
LAURENT-PERRIER
MERCIER
CHARLES HEIDSIECK
MERCIER
MOËT & CHANDON
G.H. MUMM & Cie
PERRIER JOUET
PIPER-HEIDSIECK
Louis ROEDERER

LOIRE

Approximately 1000 km long, the Loire is the largest river in France and its vineyards are never far from its banks. Its source is very near the Rhone Valley, but the climate difference between the two is dramatic. The landscapes and climates of the large Loire region vary significantly from Nantes to Roannes, with maritime influences near the ocean and marked continental influences inland. The resulting multitude of different terroirs yields an incredibly diverse array of wines. With dry, sweet and sparkling wines that can be whites reds or rosés, the Loire Valley is the third most significant region in France in terms of wine quality.
Location:
From the Massif Central to the Atlantic coast around Nantes. The Loire wine region follows the Loire river in its valley Loire region information
Size of the vineyards: 30,000 hectares
Grapes in Loire: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon
Production: 400 million bottles
Type of Wine:
Dry white wine, Sweet white wine, Semi-dry white wine, Sparkling white wine, Fruity red wine, Rosé wine
CLIMATE
The Loire Valley is known for its gentle climate with mild winters followed by Atlantic low pressure systems that bring rain and humidity. Summers are reasonably warm, but not hot. The Loire represents the northern reaches of French vineyards due to its modest sun exposure and high humidity. The 500-kilometer stretch of the eastern Loire is less homogeneous than it appears, and its various microclimates provide different levels of sunlight, sun exposure and precipitation. It rains less in Blois than in Nantes and the hills of Anjou have better sun exposure than the plains between Blois and Orléans. Most northern grape varieties thrive in the Loire Valley.
ART OF LIVING
The people of the Loire love wine, and their refined, distinguished cuisine is based on a wide variety of different foods. The fish and seafood are not to be missed, the vegetables ripen early in the season, there are many types of goat cheese and the climate is as well suited for growing fruit as it is for raising livestock. It is no wonder that the kings of France built their castles here and created a longstanding tradition of refinement and the good life. Many of France’s great historical events took place in the Loire, and today the quality of life here remains outstanding. If you are fond of beautiful landscapes, slate-roofed houses and French gardens, come explore life beside the peaceful Loire River.
LAND
The Loire crosses all of France, and it is not surprising that its vineyards are planted in a wide range of different soils. In the western part of the region, the vineyards of Nantes are grown in granite, shale and gneiss soils from the ancient Armorican massif. In Anjou, half of the soils are this same blend, but further east at the edge of the Parisian Basin, limestone soils take over. In Touraine, there are alluvial, clay, clay-limestone and sandy soils. In Sancerre, limestone prevails, with sandy or gravelly terraces. Because of this diversity, Loire valley wines form a large family that cannot be easily characterized with a single style. For example, Muscadet is entirely different than Sancerre. Each grape variety used must adapt to the soil and terroir in which it is planted.

Main grape varieties of Loire

For Red Wines
Cabernet Franc — Red wine, fruity, raspberry and strawberry flavoured
Gamay - Red wine, light, fruity wines.
For White Wines
Chenin Blanc — dry white, still and sparkling, semi-dry, rich and sweet
Sauvignon Blanc — produces dry flinty, grassy white having flavour of asparagus and gooseberries.
Muscadet-for crisp dry white wine

Wine Regions of Loire

1.The Pays Nantais
2.Anjou - Samur
3.Touraine
4.The Central Vineyards

I The Pays Nantais: The example of famous wine of this region is
(a)Muscadet - dry, crisp white wine with high acidity
The Muscadet wines with sur lie printed on the bottle means that they have yeasty flavour as best producers leave them in contact with lees.
II Anjou — Samur
Famous examples of wines of the area are
Anjou Rose — Rose wine
Sparkling Saumur - Sparkling white wine
III Touraine
Vouvray - dry or semi dry or sweet white wine
Sparkling Vouvray - (Petillant or Mousseux)
Montlouis white wine like Vouvray
IV The Central Vineyards
Sancerre - white wine
Pouilly Fume - white wine
Menetou Salon - white wine

COTE DU RHONE

After flowing from the Alps, the Rhone River takes a dramatic turn southward toward the Mediterranean. It is at this point, near Lyon, that the fog, cold and gray weather of the north give way to the sun, fragrances of the warm countryside and abundant vineyards of the south. This symbolic path from North to South flows through a narrow valley between the Alps and Massif Central that also happens to harbor the TGV rails and main highway, taking travelers southward to much needed sunlight and vacations. Though there are some continental influences in the northern vineyards, for the most part the Rhone Valley is flooded with Mediterranean sun and swept clean by the Mistral winds, producing excellent wines for all connoisseurs to enjoy.
CLIMATE
Flowing over 250 kilometers from Arles to Lyon, the Rhone is the pathway taken by French people leaving the chilly business world to take refuge in warm vacation destinations in the South. South of Montélimar, the climate is Mediterranean, with warm, sunny days kept cloudless by the legendary Mistral winds. These also keep the vineyards clean and the grapes in good condition. As a result, the wines from the Southern Rhone are full bodied, fleshy and high in alcohol. The Northern Rhone, which extends to Côte Rôtie and Condrieu, has a more continental climate with Mediterranean influences. The winters are cold and the summers hot, giving the wines increased acidity and aging potential as well as firmer tannins. Different varieties are planted, and as a result, the wines are less approachable and more austere when young.
ART OF LIVING
The Rhone Valley is rich in tourist attractions and exceptional natural beauty. Avignon and Orange, with their history, festivals or lively street life basically go without saying, but there is also the lovely fragrance of the Mont Ventoux countryside, the Tricastan brushlands and the magnificent villages of Vaison-la-Romaine and Chateauneuf du Pape to be considered. Not to mention the hidden treasures in Lubéron, the ochre earth of Roussillon and the wild, enchanting gorges of Ardèche. The Mistral winds blow strongly here, so the trees are bent in submission, and cypress groves protect delicate crops. The countryside has a warm feel that calls to mind carefree vacations and beautiful weather.
LAND
The Rhone Valley contains every type of terroir. The most well known, in Chateauneuf du Pape, consists of large smooth river rocks that collect heat from the sun during the day and radiate it at night. But the northern vineyards are located on steep terraces of shale and granite soils derived from Massif Central, and elsewhere, clay-limestone soils are prevalent. The Rhone Valley is essentially the link between three of the most important geologic elements in France: the Alps, Massif Central and the sedimentary plains. In addition, the finest river silt is deposited in the northern end of the valley and the coarsest in the south. As a result the soils are often complex, and the wines can offer completely different expressions even within the same appellation.
The Rhone Valley stretches 140 miles from Vienne in the north down, to Avignon in the South. The climate of the Rhone valley is warm and vintages are not inclined to vary excessively. The Rhone wines are above average. Their production is low and reputation limited. The Rhone Valley is divided into two main areas:
(i) Northern Rhone
(a)  Southern Rhone
The Northern Rhone has steeply terraced vineyards. The Southern Rhone is famous for large stones or cobbles called pudding stones. Lavender and Thyme grows in this region.
•    Grapes used are :
–    Red Wines – Grenache, syrah
–    White Wines – Ugni Blanc & Clairette , Viognier
•    Better know wines of this region are:
–    Chateau neuf du pape ( Popes new house )
–    Cote du Rhone
–    Tavel & Lirac
–    This region also produces a very good sweet wine called MUSCAT DE BEAUME DE VENICE

The Principal Appellations of the Northern Rhone

(i)    Chateau Grillet: The best and most famous of white Rhone wines which are expensive
(ii)    Chateau Condrieu produces white wine
(iii)    Clairette De Die sparkling wine
(iv)    Cote Rotie The roasted slopes of cote Rode are famous vineyards. They are two slopes named after two sisters, the Cote Blonde and the Cote Brune. It is said they are so called because way back in history owner presented these vineyards to his daughters one a brunette and the other blonde. These vineyards are famous for red wines.
(v)    Cornas produces red wines.
(vi)    Hermitage named after legendary repentant knight who turned hermit and grew the first vines there. Hermitage produces both red and white wines, but the former are better known. They are made from Svrah grape, and the white from Marsanne and Rousanne grapes.
(vii)    St. Joseph Excellent red and whte wines with flavor of lback berries and plummu fruit.
(viii)    St. Peray produces sparkling wine.

The principal Appellation of the southern zone

(i)    Chateauneauf Du Pape ninety nine percent red wine and 1 percent white wine are, 13 grape varieties allowed in chateauneuf du pape and the wine must have 12.5% alcohol.
(ii)    Cotes du Rhone produces white, red and rose wines.
(iii)    Coteaux Du Tricastin famous for red wines.
(iv)    Cotes Du Ventoux red wine
(v)    Cotes Du Vivarais fruity red and rose.
(vi)    Gigondas red wine
(vii)    Lirac one of the best rose produced in the Rhone.
(viii)    Muscat De Beaumes De venise sweet fortified wine from muscat grape.
(ix)    Rasteau sweet white fortified wine.
(x)    Tavel very famous dry rose wine.

JURA

Pasteur, who greatly improved modern winemaking with his microbiology research, grew up in Arbois, the capital of Jura’s winegrowing country. Though its is located next to the age-old Jura mountain range and is not known for its exotic climate, Jura and the mountainous Savoie produce excellent red and white wines. Consumed in France for the most part, these wines are produced in small quantities on the lands with the best sun exposure. Some years, the continental climate provides long, dry falls that allow off-dry and sweet wines to be produced. Made by natural concentration of the grape sugars, these are quite rare.
CLIMATE
Mountain vineyards don’t mind the snow, as long as there is enough sunshine to ripen the grapes to perfection. In Savoie and Jura, two continental regions in eastern France, the climate is quite harsh in winter, yet the summers are generous, with long sunny autumns. When planted in the right soils, the vineyards soak up the sunlight and the weather conditions favor their growth. A far cry from the huge expanses of vineyards found in the Southwest, here the vineyards must be adapted to the climate. They are planted only where the maximum sunlight and heat can be obtained and thus occupy those south and southwest facing hills that are steep enough to maximize sun exposure. Winegrowers have learned over the centuries to recognize the subtleties of the region’s microclimates. .
ART OF LIVING
Here winemakers often have other jobs as well. Winemaking is important here, but raising livestock and perfecting one’s ski technique are also important activities in the region. With their strong accents, the people of Jura and Savoie have a rough, hardy character that matches their climate, but their cuisine, especially the cheeses of Comté and Beaufort, complements wine perfectly. The region’s array of reds, whites, rosés and even the sweet Vins Jaunes do much to raise spirits and facilitate camaraderie. Behind the gruff exterior of the mountain people there is always an open doorway welcoming visitors to a warm household that revolves around the kitchen.
LAND
The vineyards of Jura and Savoie are a mosaic of microterroirs, not always adjacent to one another, but always located in the most ideal locations for grape growing. In the Jura, these are marly limestone soils for the whites and clay-limestone soils which are strung along 80 km of hills. In Savoie, the vineyards are located in the valleys or the first foothills of the Alps. Here also, the soils are primarily clay-limestone, and the vineyards are planted with southeastern or southwestern exposure to best absorb the energy of the sun.
Wine labels are designed to convince you to purchase the product, but some elements listed are mandatory and help ensure the quality of the product. You can easily learn to find them
Famous wines of Jura
(a) Vin Jaune or yellow Wine: Jura's best known wine, produced in small qualities is a strange sherry-like wine, from AC Chateau Chalon. Surprisingly, it is not a Chateau but a small town. It is the only French wine to grow the flor which is found on best sherry. Flor gives this wine the ability to age for 7 to 8 years in cask. The wine is strong, dark, dry, yellow or golden in colour and nutty in taste, more of an aperitif than a table wine.
(b) Vin De Paille (Straw Wine): It is sweet wine, raisin-like having high alcoholic content used as after dinner wine. They are so called straw wines because the grapes are allowed to dry on trays covered with straws. These are wines of repute from Chateau d' Arlay, These are strong heady wines and will keep for a century. They are somewhat between Malaga and dry Madeira. They leave a curious effect on the palate known locally as queue de paon, or the peacock's tail, a prickly sensation which lasts for a minute after swallowing. In Switzerland similar wines are found under the generic name of Vin Fletri,
(c) Vin Gris is the name given to the delicately coloured rose wine of the Jura.

Provence

Cote De Provence region stretches east from Marseilles behind all the resorts of that crowded coast. Provence is sun and sand, fabulous hilltop villages like Les Baux &ndAix-En-Provence, with wonderful smell of wild smell of wild herb, thyme, basil and rosemary. The best wines from Provence are red, although there are some pleasant roses,
The Appellations of Provence
 Bandol AC famous for red wines aged in wood for minimum 11 months. It is a tourist and fishing  village east of Marseilles It I under Coteaux D’ Aix-En-Provence.
Cassis AC produces best white wine of Provence as well as some red and rose.
Palette AC red. rose and white wine from east of Aix-En-Provence. Chateau Simone. produces best rose.
Bellet AC red. White and rose wine from Coteaux Varois (VDQS). northwest of Nice
Languedoc It is "a region which stretches from Pyrenees to the Loire. The wines produced in this region are both red and white wines. The grape variety used is clairette. The famous one is St.chinian, VDQS local communes.
Savoie The region of Savoie is surrounded on all sides by the foothills of Alps.
Famous wine of savoie are
Crepy dry wihte wine slightly sparkling made from the chasseslas grape variety.
Seyssel basic sparkling wine
Chambery: French Vermouth made from both red and white local wines.
Grenoble famous for green and yellow variety of liqueur Chartreuse secret recipe known only to Carthusian monks.

UNDERSTANDING FRENCH WINE LABEL

 

•    Still wine labels: AOC and Vin de Pays  
•    Champagne labels  
•    French Vin de Table labels

Still wine labels: AOC and Vin de Pays 

 

     The main purpose of the label is to inform the consumer, before the wine is uncorked, about the contents of the bottle and the quality that can be expected. Some elements are mandatory and are regulated by French consumer protection services. The rest, such as the brand name or vineyard, are optional:
1 - Mandatory: Regional designation, either “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” or “Vin de Pays”, followed by the appellation name or the geographic area where the wine was produced. Example: “Appellation Bourgogne Contrôlée” or “Vin de Pays d’Oc”
2 - Mandatory: Name or company name of the bottler who is legally responsible for the wine and address of the corresponding head office. This information must be accompanied by the statement “Mis en bouteille par…” (“Bottled by…”) or “Société (Dupont) embouteilleur” (Dupont, bottling company). Example: “Mis en bouteille par (Dupont) à 33256 Carignan” (Bottled by Dupont in Carignan, 33256)
3 - Mandatory: Bottle volume in liters, centiliters or milliliters
4 - Mandatory: Degree of alcohol content, listed in % of total wine volume
Optional: brand name, Château (estate) picture, gold border on label, “Carte Noire” designation (indicates a wine has been aged several years), vintage, back label, “Vieilles Vignes” (Old Vines), “Mis en Bouteilles à la propriété” (Estate Bottled).

CHAMPAGNE

 

In the Champagne region, the mandatory label elements are the same as for AOC wines, because Champagne is itself an appellation controllée. However, the process of making champagne, its residual sugar level and regional authorities often force producers to include more information on their labels.
1 - Mandatory: AOC designation, in this case just the word “Champagne”
2 - Mandatory: Brand name
3 - Mandatory: Bottle volume in liters, centiliters or milliliters
4 - Mandatory: Degree of alcohol content, listed in % of total wine volume
5 - Mandatory: Residual sugar levels, from the lowest (Brut Nature) to the highest (Doux), with Brut, Extra Dry, Sec and Demi-sec in between.
6 - Mandatory: The name or company name of the winemaker, the name of the village or town where production activities take place and the word “France”.
7 - Mandatory: The winemaker’s official registration number, preceded by the initials that signify the corresponding profession, including NM for Negociant Manipulant (Champagne house), RM for Récoltant Manipulant (winemaker that produces exclusively from his or her own grapes) and RC for Récoltant Coopérateur (a wine maker who has Champagne made by a cooperative) among others.   

French Vin de Table labels

 

Even Vin de Table (table wines) produced in France are subject to strict marketing regulations.
1 - Mandatory: “Vin de Table de France” or “Vin de Table Français” designation. French wines blended with wines from other countries cannot be included in this category.
2 - Mandatory: Name or company name of the bottler who is legally responsible for the wine and address of the corresponding head office. To avoid confusion, the name of the village or town must be replaced by its zip code to avoid it being confused with an AOC.
3 - Mandatory: Bottle volume in liters, centiliters or milliliters
4 - Mandatory: Degree of alcohol content, listed in % of total wine volume
Optional: Brand name   

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