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French Wine

Learn about French wine, common tasting notes, where the region is and more ...

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Nearly synonymous with fine wine and all things epicurean, France has a culture of wine production and consumption that is deeply rooted in tradition. Many of the world’s most beloved grape varieties originated here, as did the concept of “terroir”—soil type, elevation, slope and mesoclimate combine to produce resulting wines that convey a sense of place. Accordingly, most French wine is labeled by geographical location, rather than grape variety. So a general understaning of which grapes correspond to which regions can be helpful in navigating all of the types of French wine. Some of the greatest wine regions in the world are here, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Champagne, but each part of the country has its own specialties and strengths.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the king and queen of Burgundy, producing elegant red and white wines with great acidity, the finest examples of which can age for decades. The same two grapes, along with Pinot Meunier, are used to make Champagne.

Of comparable renown is Bordeaux, focused on bold, structured red blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc including sometimes a small amount of Petit Verdot or Malbec. The primary white varieties of Bordeaux are Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.

The northern Rhône Valley is responsible for single-varietal Syrah, while the south specializes in Grenache blends; Rhône's main white variety is Viognier.

Most of these grape varieties are planted throughout the country and beyond, extending their influence into other parts of Europe and New World appellations.

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  • Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Clos de Beauvenir 2003 Front Label
    Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Clos de Beauvenir 2003
    Rhone White Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    • RP91
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  • Chateau de Saint Cosme Cote Rotie 2003 Front Label
    Chateau de Saint Cosme Cote Rotie 2003
    Syrah/Shiraz from Cote Rotie, Rhone, France
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  • Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape (stained label) 2003 Front Label
    Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape (stained label) 2003
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    • W&S91
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  • Chateau de Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press 2003
    Rhone Red Blends from Vin de France, France
    • RP89
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  • Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee des Cadettes 2003 Front Label
    Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee des Cadettes 2003
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • WS93
    • RP91
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  • Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Prestige 2003 Front Label
    Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Prestige 2003
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • WS95
    • RP92
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  • Chateau de Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph 2003 Front Label
    Chateau de Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph 2003
    Syrah/Shiraz from Rhone, France
    • RP92
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  • Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Grand Cuvee Hommage a Jacques Perrin (3 Liter) 2003  Front Label
    Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Grand Cuvee Hommage a Jacques Perrin (3 Liter) 2003
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • WS95
    • RP95
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  • Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape (3 Liter Bottle) 2003
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    • WS94
    • W&S91
    • RP90
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  • M. Chapoutier Ermitage de l'Oree Blanc 2003  Front Label
    M. Chapoutier Ermitage de l'Oree Blanc 2003
    Marsanne from Hermitage, Rhone, France
    • RP99
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