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France

Nearly synonymous with fine wine and all things epicurean ...

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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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    Domaine de la Vougeraie Vougeot Clos du Prieure Blanc 2013
    Chardonnay from Vougeot, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • WS92
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    Domaine de la Vougeraie Vougeot Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot Monopole Premier Cru 2013
    Chardonnay from Vougeot, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • W&S94
    • RP92
    • BH91
    • WS90
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    Nicolas Joly Savennieres Les Vieux Clos 2013
    Chenin Blanc from Anjou, Loire, France
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    Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2013
    Rhone White Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    • WW92
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    Zind-Humbrecht Brand Grand Cru Riesling 2013
    Riesling from Alsace, France
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    Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres 2013
    Chardonnay from Puligny-Montrachet, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • W&S95
    • JS94
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    Domaine Vincent Careme Vouvray Le Peu Morier 2013
    Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, France
    • W&S93
    • WE91
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    Zind-Humbrecht Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain Grand Cru Riesling 2013
    Riesling from Alsace, France
    • W&S95
    • WS93
    • WW93
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