Curious Small Sips #29: France

Vineyard in France

France has 11 major wine regions, spread over different climate zones, allowing winemakers to create various wine styles, depending on the grapes, weather and the local terroir. The most influential of these regions are Bordeaux, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Loire Valley, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley and Alsace.

The south and southwest of the country have a Mediterranean climate, which helps produce enigmatic succulent reds, such as the Bordeaux blends (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc) and crisp and soft-bodied whites, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon blends.

France’s north and eastern regions, including Champagne and Alsace, have a cooler climate and produce refined and supple wines such as Champagne, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

Loire and Burgundy have the best of both worlds, with an Oceanic Continental climate. Warm summers and cool winters (wonder what that’s like, instead of 11 months of grey?). The Loire Valley is most renowned for the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé appellations and the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Burgundy is responsible for lean Pinot Noirs and fantastic minerality in Chardonnay, most notably in Chablis.

With over 200+ indigenous wine varietals, France produces a huge range of wine, ranging from the ordinary to the exceptional. (We only stock the latter, in case you were wondering.)

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