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  • Beaujolais Nouveau Wine

    Beaujolais Nouveau

    This young, extremely fruity wine is sold according to tradition from the third Thursday of November.

    Clacking tongues suggest that the early sale ofthese wines is a marketing stunt to reduce French wine stocks.

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     It is not surprising that Beaujolais Nouveau is nicknamed 'the third river of Lyon'. Others wax lyrical about the outstanding fruitiness of the new season's Beaujolais. Expertenced wine drinkers regard this young wine as heralding the results of that vintage and do not make such a fuss. They consider the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau more as a custom than a passing fad. It is up to you whether to buy them or not. In any event try to avoid the cheaper examples. Always drink the better Beaujolais Nouveau such as a Beaujolais ViJlages Nouveau chilled at about 50°F (10°C).

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    BEAUJOLAIS

    The basic Beaujolais is produced as a white, rose, and red.. Light, fruity wines are made on more than 10,000 hectares of predominantly chalky soil. Drink these wines at approx. 51.8° (F11°C).

    Since the most southerly white Burgundy appellation of St-Veran came into existence the production of white Beaujolais has been significantly reduced. Beaujolais Blanc is made with Chardonnay grapes (and occasionally a little Aligote). The wine is fresh and fruity in taste and nose. Experienced wine drinkers may detect a hint of hazelnut, mint, butter and sometimes green vegetal such as green pepper (paprika).

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    BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES

    There are 39 communes which are permitted to call themselves AC Beaujolais Villages. The wine is soft and generous with a delightful cherry red colour and considerable scent and taste of fruit such as blackcurrant and strawberry. Drink at 51.8-53.6°F (11-12°C).{jcomments on}

  • Beaujolais Wine - French Wine

    Beaujolais

    Although Beaujolais is officially within Burgundy, it is usually treated as an independent French wine area. We do this because Beaujolais wine has its own identity which is further strengthened by the considerable publicity that surrounds this individually-minded Burgundian brother.

     The most famous   Beaujolais is the new wine or Nouveau, which is introduced each year with much ado. There is much more though to discover in the Beaujolais, with at least twelve different appellations.

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    The area

    Beaujolais starts about 6 miles (10 kilometres ) south of Macon, in the department of Rhône. It is a relatively small area about 37 miles by 71/z miles (60 km long by 12 km) wide that spreads itself across a ridge of hills that border the valley of the Saône. The area is subdivided into two sub-regions: in the north Haut-Beaujolais where the best wines are made, the 10 crus, and Beaujolais Villages. The   soil   is predominantly granite and quartz fragments on a bed of slate.

    The southern part or Bas-Beaujolais has soil that is a mixture of clay and chalk. The everyday white, rose, and red Beaujolais are produced from these vineyards.

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    The vineyards

    Only about 2% of the vineyards are planted with Chardonnay. The extremely rare white Beaujolais is made from these grapes. The remainder of the vineyards   are   planted with the Gamay grape. Some   rose   but   mainly reds are made from Gamay.

    The preparation of Beaujolais

    In recent decades the growers of Beaujolais have realised that improvement and above all greater environmental awareness in the protect­ ion   of their   vineyards, combined   with   better equipment and hygiene in the wine cellar improves the quality of the wine. Consequently far less sulphate fertiliser is now used and wine-makers control temperature far better duringvinification.

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    This protects the characteristics of   the   soil,   climate, and grape far better. Unfortunately there are still growers in Bea u jolais who want to make a profit as quickly and as cheaply as possible - a scandal  for those hard -working growers who seek to improve the quality of their wine.

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  • Burgundy French Wine

    Burgundy grapesThe hallowed ground of Burgundy(French Wine) is home to the greatest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world. Sadly though, in recent years not all of the French wines made here have met the standards of their predecessor. Having said that, there are some smart up-and-coming young producers around and today Burgundy finds itself on a bit of a roll.

    Burgundy was one if the first French wines regions to be know for its wine outside its boundaries. Favoired by kings and queens, the much sought-after wines of Burgundy werw also a passion for Thomas Jefferson. Situates in central France, Burgundy stretches from Dijon in the north, to just south of Macon in the south, The districts of Chablis, sixty miles to the northwest of Dijon, and Beaujolais, to the south of Macon, are both considered part of the region. Due to the influence of the church and the France law of inheritance, the wineyards of Burgundy are very fragmented.

     

    Did you know?

     The French wines in Sauvignon de St Bris, an Appwllation Contrôlêe in Northern Burgundy, are made from Sauvignon Blanc.

     

     Therefore the ‘nêgociant’ has an important role in the making and selling of the wines. ‘Domaine’ bottled Burgundy is a direct reflection of an individual grower, who often tends the vines, makes thewine, and bottles it.

     

    Burgundy grapes

     Burgundy GrapesChardonnay is the principal white grape suited to the calcareous/limestone soil of Burgundy. White Burgundy combines power and elegance but early maturing wines are also produced, along with the racy, cool climate white French wines of Chablis. The Alogtê grape is also planted, This makes crisp and lively white wines and is the classical base for Kir. Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are also planted in small quantities. The major black variety in the region is Pinot Noir, except in Beaujolais where Gamy reigns supreme. In Burgundy, Pinot Noir is capable of producing wines of exceptional class, elegance and ability to age. It’s a difficult customer though and great care is required to grow and vinify this grape. Gamay on the other hand, provides colour, lots of fruit and acidity in Beaujolais and is also used in the Mâconnais.

    The most famous and expresive French wine of Burgundy include the those the Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Domaine Leflaive and Lafon.

    Bourgogne Passetoutgrains is a blend of a minimum of one third Pinot and Gamay.

     Throughout Burgundy there are terroirs with chalk, marl, clay, stony ground, and iron in places. The hard winters and hot summers together with the soil ensure individual characters and personality. The grapes here are Pinot Nair, Chardonnay, Aligote, and Gamay. Near St-Bris in the Auxerrois th.ey also grow a little Sauvignon Blanc. Burgundy is a complex patchwork of vineyards, referred to here as climat, villages, clos, and crus. There are also four Burgundy-wide appellations.

     

    APPELLATIONS REGIONALES

    Bourgogne, Bourgogne Aligote (for white wine), Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, and Bourgogne.Passe­ Tout-Grains can be used for the appropriate grapes from throughout the area. Tbe better Burgundies come from specific Localities (such as Côtes de uHs, Côtes de Beaune).

     

    THE 53 APPELLATIONS COMMUNALES

    These wines bear the name of the parish or community such as Chablis, Nuits-St-Georges, Vosne-Romanee, or Vougeot).

     

    THE 561   PREMIER CRU APPELLATIONS

    In addition to the village or community appellation, these wines are permitted to identify the particular piece of land or climat. These climats are of sufficient quality that their French wines may be termed premier cru. Examples of these are Chablis ler Cru Montmains, Chambolle-Musigny Armoureuses, Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres, Beaune Clos des Mouches, and Beaune Greves.

     

    THE 32 GRAND CRUS

    These climats have became very famous by their constant quality over the centuries. It is sufficient for these wines just to bear the name of the climat. Examples   are   Chablis   Grand   Cru   Vaudesir, Echezeaux, Charmes-Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, Bonnes   Mares,   Romanee-St-Vivant, Carton, Montrachet.

     

    The different French wine areas

    Burgundy is divided into nine different areas: Chablis,   Auxerrois,   Cotes   de Nuits,   Cotes de Beaune, Cotes Chalonnaise, Miiconnais, Beaujolais­ Villages, Beaujolais, and Coteaux du Lyonnais. In reality the last three fall within Beaujolais, and Auxerrois is subsumed in Chablis.

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  • Côte Châlonnaise - French wine

      The Côtes Châlonnaise between Chagny, Montagny and Couches will probably surprise many a visitor.

    BOURGOGNE CÔTE CHALONNAISE

    This is a fairly recent appellation (1990) for white but especially red wines, spread through 44 communes.

    The white French wine is a light, floral and fruity Chardonnay (citrus and exotic fruit) with a lithe, fatty, and balanced taste. The very fruity cherry red wine is light, friendly, warm, and generous.

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    RULLY

    These French white and red wines acquire an aromatic finesse through their chalk soils. The white Rully is a very pure and clear golden white with very seductive bouquet containing broom, almond, and citrus fruit with a fresh and elegant taste that has undertones of fruit and flowers.

    The ruby red Rully has a nose when young of red fruit such as blackberry, blackcurrant, and red- currant. Late this evolves into a riper fruit bouquet with suggestions of tobacco and moist autumn soil. The taste is typical of a Burgundy, fat and fresh, with elegant tannin and much fruitiness, especially in the aftertaste.

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    MERCUREY

    Most white Mercurey wines are a light, friendly, and above all uncomplicated aperitif French wine. The red Mercurey is an attractive ruby red colour and fruity aromas of blackcurrant, redcurrant, and cherry, often with a pinch of herbs.

     

    GIVRY

    Like its neighbours from Montagny, wine from Givry is an entirely under regarded Chardonnay white. Consequently it is modestly priced for the quality offered.

    There are a couple of whites from Givry that have gorgeous bouquets of acacia and may blossom, apple, almond, and sometimes also lime blossom and lilac. These full, fatty whites can be found in the totally reliable Guide Hachette. Drink this French wine with freshwater fish.

    Red Givry is very colourful with   an   intensely aromatic nose   of redcurrant and   blackcurrant. When older there are herbal undertones. This is a fleshy wine with considerable finesse and a pleasant fruity taste.

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    MONTAGNY

    The best Montagny wine has a pale and unimposing colour but with an exceptional array of scents: apple, citrus fruit, fresh almonds, fern, hazelnut, and butter.

    The taste is lithe, elegant, fresh, and rounded.

     

    BOURGOGNE ALIGOTIDE BOUZERON

    This French wine is better than the general Aligote AC. It is an exceptionally pleasing fresh wine with a seductive nose of roses, peony, and white fruit, sometimes accompanied by cinnamon.{jcomments on}

  • French Wine Regions

    Alsace wine region

    Alsace Wine RegionAlsace wine region with its villages, vineyards and towns linig the foothills of the Vosges mountains, is on of the most picturesque wine regions of France. This unique wine region of northeast France, which produces some of the greatest white wines in the country, still prides itself on making handcrafted wines and steers clear of outside investment.

    The wine region’s continental climate is exceptionally dry. Almost all Alsace wines are white wine and dry wines, whit exception of late harvest wines and some red wine produced from Pinot Noir.

    The soil of this wine region is extremly varied, with the best vineyards classified as Grand Cru.

     

    Burgundy wine region

    The hallowed ground wine region of Burgundy is home to the greatest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world. Sadly though, in recent years not all of the French wines made here have met the standards of their predecessor. Having said that, there are some smart up-and-coming young producers around and today Burgundy finds itself on a bit of a roll. Burgundy was one if the first French wines regions to be know for its wine outside its boundaries. Favoired by kings and queens, the much sought-after wines of Burgundy werw also a passion for Thomas Jefferson.

     

    Bordeaux wine region

    In terms of producing fine wines Bordeaux is the largest and most important wine region of France for the best French wine lovers. Throughout its long history Bordeaux wine region has had connections with England, and during a 300-year spell from 1152, was under English rule. Bordeaux wine region lies on the rivers Garonne and Dordogne, which join to become the Gironde, before flowing into the Atlantic. The climate, influenced by the sea and rivers, is mild, slightly humid and summers tend to be long and warm for this wine region.

     

    Wine Regions of FranceChampagne wine region

    The historic heart of Champagne wine region is Reims, about 93 milles (150 km) north-east of Paris. The geographical centre of the Champagne wine region is at Epernay, slightly south of Reims. Champagne is subdivided into four large areas: the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, the Côte des Blancs, and finally the Côte de Bar in the department of Aube, between Bar-sur-Seine and Bar-sur-Aube.

    Each of these wine regions has its own geographic indentity resulting from countless variations in position, sun-hours, contour, soil, and finaly area unique with its own character and potential. There are more than 300 different terroirs, here referred to as crus, each equally unique and the subject of countless village interpretations.

     

    Cotes du Rhone wine region

    Côtes du Rhône (English: Slopes or Hills of the Rhône) is a wine-growing Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for the Rhône wine region of France, which may be used throughout the region, also in those areas which are covered by other AOCs. In a limited part of the wine region, the AOC Côtes du Rhône-Villages may be used, in some cases together with the name of the commune.

    Côtes du Rhône are the basic AOC wines of the Rhône region, and exist as red, white and rosé wines, generally dominated by Grenache (reds and rosés) or Grenache blanc (whites). At the generic level, the official AOC Côtes du Rhône region stretches 200 km from Vienne in the north to Avignon in the south and from the foothills of the Massif Central in the west to the fore-slopes of the Vaucluse and Luberon mountains east of the town of Orange.

     

    Languedoc-Roussillon wine region

    Languedoc-Roussillon is a large wine region that sweeps across southern France from the Spanish border to the Rhône estyary. Commonly known as the Midi, it produces almost one third of all French wines and is currently a hot bed of innovation and exciting winemaking.

    Hillside locations are replacing the flatland vineyards which once produced an enormous amount of Vin Ordinaire. Emphasis is now being placed in lower yields, barrique ageing and more complex blending. Many Rhône varieties, such as Syrah and Grenache, are planted here to grow alongisde Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot ans Chardonnay.

     

    Loire Valley wine region

    In comparison of the rest of France, the Loire wine region has a cool climate. The area is capable of producing a wide range of wines, from light, dry, and crisp whites, to rosé, medium-bodied reds, and luscious dessert wines.   It is also a wine region where extremely good sparking wines are made. It was not until the 1940s that the Loire’s wines began to gain a reputation outside their local markets but since then, the region’s white wines, in particular, have featured on many restaurant wine lists.

     

    Provence wine region

    The French wine-growing region of Provence covers a large territory from Nice to Arles. It is no surprise therefore that Provençal wines vary so greatly in their colour, bouquet, and taste. The vineyards from this wine region are often widely scattered which makes working them more difficult. Most growers therefore belong to a co-operative to keep their costs down. The best wines generally come from smaller independent estates, which bottle their own wines in this wine region. The price of these wines is naturally dearer than those from co-operatives but the difference in quality justifies the extra cost.

     

    Corsica wine region

    Corsica wine region is situated on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Located 90 km west of Italy, 170 km southeast of France and 11 km north of the island of Sardinia, the island is a territorial collectivity of France, but many of the region's winemaking traditions and its grape varieties are Italian in origin. The region's viticultural history can be traced to the island's settlement by Phoceans traders in 570 BC in what is now the commune of Aléria. In the 18th century, the island came under the control of France.

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  • Generic Burgundy - French Wine

    Generic Burgundy

    Before we continue   our   journey south let us consider a few of the generic wines of Burgundy.

    BOURGOGNE

    White Bourgogn e AC (Chardonnay) is an aromatic, fresh white wine. Drink it at about 51.8°F (11°C)and preferably within two years of the harvest.

    Red BourgogneAC (Pinot Noir) is ruby red and has a nose of red fruit and wood land fruit (raspberry, blackcuriant, blackberry, and redcurrant). It is a lithe, generous, and friendly wine. Drink at about 60.8°F /16°C within five years of the harvest.

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    BOURGOGNE PASSE-TOUT-GRAIN

    The red French wine is made with a minimum of one third Pinot Noir to which Gamay grapes are added. The better wines though contain more Pinot Noir. It is a light, cheerful , and generous wine that should be drunk when young. For completeness, there is also a rosé variant.

    BOURGOGNE GRAND ORDINAIRE

    This appellation is rarely seen these days because it sounds too 'ordinary' for a Burgundy yet very acceptable whites, reds, and roses are to be found at a very reasonable price in this category.

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    BOUR GOGNE ALIGOTE

    This French white wine is very popular in Burgundy and much further afield. This very fresh wine is often strongly acidic and has a bouquet of green apple, lemon, and may blossom with the occasional hint of flint.{jcomments on}

  • Pommard - Red French Wine

    POMMARD

    Without doubt the best-known Burgundy in the world. The name resonates just like the wine's taste - of a thunderclap on a hot autumn evening.

     The colour is an exciting red and the bouq uet (black cherry, herbs, leather) and taste are both strong. This is a full, fatty wine that is both powerful and harmonious. A more classic traditional Burgundy is not to be found.

    VOLNAY

    This   red French wine   is strangely   better   known with painters, sculptors, and writers than gastronomes. Perhaps this is because of its almost artistic, tender, and feminine qualities. Volnay is certainly not a macho wine. It has a very pure and clear red colour and the nose suggests violets and blackcurrant or sloes when young, which later develop into a complex bouquet with an assortment of fruits, flowers, herbs, and toadstools. It is a rounded, velvety wine that above all is sensual.

    The better wines originate from the Premier Cru climats. This French wine merits serving with fine food.

    BURGUNDY WINE *** FRENCH WINE

    MONTHELIE

    It is impossible to explain why Monthelie has not yet been truly discovered. Exceptionally pleasant white and red French wine is made here which is certainly not inferior to neighbouring Volnay. It is a wine then for the astute who want quality at a lower price. The red wines are better than the whites which are classic Burgundian Chardonnay with lots of butter (sometimes too much) and wood in the nose with a mild but full taste. The best Monthelie whites also contain hints of toast, white flowers, and honey with the occasional suggestion of Virginian tobacco.

    The red Monthelie French wine is a seductive clear, and cheerful red colour. Its nose is fruity when young (blackberry, bilberry, blackcurrant) with occasional floral notes   (violets). When more mature this changes to the classic fungal aromas while the fruitiness reminds of home-made jam. It is a rich, lithe, generous, and friendly French wine which is at its best after several years maturing in the bottle.

    BURGUNDY WINE *** FRENCH WINE

    AUXEY-DURESSES

    The same hill has two very different sides to it. Red  French wine is made from one side and white wine from the other. White Auxey-Duresses is pale yellow, very aromatic (fruity and minerals) with the occasional suggestion of exotic fruit such as mango.

     The taste is warm, open, and generous. Red Auxey-Duresses steels the show. Do not drink it too young when it is still rather rough. The colour often tends towards granite red and the aromas evoke ripe fruit. It is a warm, full wine with a considerable structure.

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