Wine Searcher

  • Anjou-Saumur French Wines

    ANJOU-SAUMUR

    Great French wines were made here more than fifteen centuries ago. With its 27 appellations the area around Anjou and Saumur has something for everyone. It is a true journey of discovery from which newcomers to wine drinking and connoisseurs will both experience pleasure. The underlying ground is extremely complex around Anjou. Crudely speaking there are two main types: the 'blue' of Anjou which is blue slate and eroded igneous rocks from the Massif Central, and the 'white' Anjou of Saumur, Vouvray, and Montlouis with underlying beds of chalk and tufa.

    The most widely grown variety of grape is Chenin Blanc (Pineau de la Loire) for white French wines and both Cabernets for reds French wine. You will also encounter some Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for white wines here and there and some Gamay for red wines.

  • Côtes d'Auvergne French Wine

    Côtes d'Auvergne VDQS

    Vines have been growing on the sides of the old volcanoes of the Auvergne for more than two thousand years. Wine-growing started to flourish again in the Auvergne recently after a long period of disasters and troubles stretching back to the phylloxera epidemic, World War I, the economic crisis of 1929, and World War II that followed. A new generation of quality-seeking wine-growers and makers is re-establishing a reputation for quality that had been lost by a previous generation that was more concerned with volume production. These new young growers are not only better educated and more professional, they are also proud of their business, their terroir, and of their wine and you can tell this by drinking their French wines.

  • El Hierro Spanish Wine

     

    El Hierro wine region

    Hierro Spain WineThis Canarian DO is in the hands of just one cooperative bodega which has certainly finished with the less glorious past history of wine-making on the island. Through the modernisation and replacement of their wine-making equipment and improved methods of vinification an end has been brought here to dirty, non-sterile, and heavily oxidised wine.

    Now they make fine white, rosé and red Spanish wines for local consumption. Traditional wine is still blended from a variety of grapes (white: Listán Blanco (Palomino), Vermejuela, or Bermejuela and Vijariego; rosé and red: Listán Negro or Negramoll. The more modem Spanish wines though are made from a single variety or at most from two. The choice is from the varieties listed above but also includes Pedro Ximénez, Verdello, Breval, Diego, Gual, Malvasia, and Moscatel. Many of the grape varieties used have long since disappeared from the Spanish mainland but they thrive on the volcanic soil.

  • Les Baux-de-Provence French wine

    This area is actually part of the Côteaux d'Aix-enProvence, but gained its own AC in 1995. The landscape here is dominated by the rugged and picturesque Alpilles hills that are interspersed with vineyards and olive groves. The area gained its own AC because of its local microclimate and enforcement of stricter production criteria. Only the red and rose wines from a designated 300 hectares surrounding the town of Les Baux-de-Provence are permitted to bear this appellation.

     

    LES BAUX-DE-PROVENCE ROSE

    The colour is the first thing that strikes one. It is a superb salmon-pink, while the nose is reminiscent of redcurrant, strawberry, and other red fruit for thise French wine. The taste is fresh, fruity (grapefruit and cherry), and very pleasant. This is a rose that can charm most people. Drink it chilled at 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

     

    LES BAUX-DE-PROVENCE ROUGE

    The colour of this French wine is a fairly dark ruby red. The nose is complex and strong with hints of wood, vanilla, liquorice, plum jam, caramel, coffee, humus, and occasionally of cherry brandy. The taste is fairly coarse in the first five years because of the strong youthful tannin but after some years in the bottle the taste becomes more rounded, fuller, and more powerful. Drink this French wine at 16- 18°C (60.8-64.4°F) .

    {jcomments on}

  • Other wines from Champagne

    CHTEAUX CHAMPENOIS

    This wine has been classified AOC since 1974. It is available as white wine, red wine, and rose wine. These are exceptionally rare wines, remnants of the past.

    In addition to sparkling wines, Champagne also produces a number of still wines.

     

    ROSE DES RICEYS

    This is extremely rare and undoubtedly one of the best French roses. The simple Rose des Riceys is drunk young and chilled . When aged in oak the wine can be kept longer (more than 10 years) and is then   served   slightly   less   chilled   (50-53°F/10-12°C).

  • Rosé wines

       Rosé wines are made from black grapes, which are crushed and fermented with the skins until there is a little colour extraction.

    Rosé wines The wine is drawn off the skins and complets its fermentation at a low temperature. An alternative technique is the Saignee method which is used on de-stalked grapes. These are not crushed but vatted for 12-14 hours, after which the juice is ros off and fermented without skin contact.

     There are some exciting styles of rosé on the market, including traditional wines such as Tavel and Sancerre Rosé, which contrast with the vibrant and fruity examples from the southern hemisphere, such as the Grenache/Shiraz blends from Australia, and Malbec Rosé from Argentina.

     

     Rosé should be drunk as a young, juicy, fresh wine. The best examples exhibit flavours of ripe red fruits, but with crisp acidity. They are often good choices to accompany Indian food, salmon fillet and cold meats. Rosé offers a freshness that makes it an ideal drink on a hot day.

    {jcomments on}

  • Sancerre French wine

    Chavignol French wineSancerre

    Sancerre is one of the best-known Loire winegrowing areas and also one of the best-known wines of France. Since its early beginnings as an AC wine in 1936 Sancerre white has made the area part of the French wine-growing elite.

    Sancerre rose and red only gained their recognition in 1959. The French vineyards for white, rose, and red Sancerre (approx. 2,400 hectares) are located within 11 communes, of which Sancerre, Chavignol, and Bue are the best known. The area is noted for its attractive landscape of gently undulating hills with chalk or gravel-bearing soils. The grapes used here are Sauvignon Blanc for

  • The four regional appellations of origin of the Jura for French Wine

    CHATEAU-CHALON FRENCH WINE

    Jura wine regionThe village of Chateau-Chalon dominates this wine region both literally and figuratively. It is 450 metres (1,476 feet) above sea-level, in the centre of the Jura, and gave birth to the king of all Jura wines, the vin jaune (yellowFrench wine), which is exclusively made from Savagnin grapes.

     Vins jaunes may be made throughout the Jura but the best originates from Chateau-Chalon. This French wine is of the utmost highest quality and is not made every year. The preparation for making it in the village is the same as elsewhere for vins jaunes but the level of quality control is far higher.

    Vins jaunes, including those of Chateau-Chalon are put in dumpy 62 cl clavelin bottles, since this is all that remains of a litre of-young wine after maturing for six years and three months in a cask. The clavelins of Chateau-Chalon are the only ones to bear a decorative red seal around their necks for the best French Wine.

     

    L'ETOILE FOR FRENCH WINE

    No-one knows precisely why this village got its name (etoile means star in French). It is probably due to the five encircling hills that together form the shape of a star, or the five beautiful castles in the neighbourhood. Perhaps though the name is derived from shells and star fish remains found in the chalky soil of the vineyards. Very high quality and highly regarded white and sparkling wines are made from about 80 hectares in this village for the good French Wine.

     

    ARBOIS FRENCH WINE

    The vineyards surrounding the pleasant small town of Arbois supply the greatest volume of wines from the Jura. That these 800 hectares can produce exceptional quality wines with their own character is shown by the fact that wine from Arbois was the first in France to be permitted to bear an Appellation d'Origin e Contralee.

    The production is chiefly of white and red wine but some Pupillin rose is also made and this is good French Wine.

     

    CÔTES DU JURA AND FRENCH WINE

    French Jura WineA colourful collection of white, red, rose, and sparkling wines are covered by this appellation. It is astounding that so many different quality wines are made from such a small area.

    The wholly Chardonnay white French wine is pale yellow and smells of fresh grapes. After two to three years maturing in casks it develops its characteristic flinty smell. Wines made with Chardonnay and Savagnin have an even more clearly pronounced terroir scent and flavour. Those of just Savagnin are above all very delicate and aromatic for a French Wine.

    The Poulsard rose is elegant and subtle. Roses from this area often have a coral-like colour and are exceptionally juicy and full bodied. The red wine is quite peculiar. Made from Poulsard, it resembles a rose but is actually a true red wine. The scent and flavour are reminiscent of mould and wild fruits of the forest.

    By contrast, that made from Trousseau is warm, full of tannin, rounded, and full-bodied with the nose of red fruit. It is strongly alcoholic and be kept until quite old.

     

    SPARKLING WINE FROM THE JURA

    The Mousseux and Cremant originate mainly from !'Etoile and Vemois. These are available in brut, sec, or demi-sec and in white or rose French Wine. They are made by the traditional method with a second fermentation in the bottle.

    {jcomments on}

     

  • The nine AC French wines

    CÔTEAUX DU CAP CORSE

    This is a minuscule wine-growing appellation area with a mere 30 hectares, situated on mountainous slopes to the north of Bastia. Red, rose, but chiefly white French wines are made here. The white, based on the Vermentinu grape, is excellent and very refined.

     

    MUSCAT DU CAP CORSE

    This French wine is produced in the same mountainous areas as the Côteaux du Cap Corse and also in the Patrimonio area. This appellation was officially recognised in 1993, although the local Muscat wines have enjoyed international fame for centuries. It is fine and very aromatic French wine.

    The best Muscat is made from grapes that are picked very late, ripened and dried under the sun in small boxes. This makes a full-flavoured, very aromatic wine, that is fatty and strong. It can be readily laid

    down and should be drunk chilled to approx. 8°C (46.4°F).

     

    PATRIMONIO

    This is one of the best known and often also best French wines of Corsica. Red and rose wines are produced from the Niellucciu group and the Vermentinu grape here produces a superb white.

     

    PATRIMONIO BLANC

    This is a pale yellow wine that is tinged with green, It has floral notes (may blossom and white flowers), a fresh and fruity taste and it is full-bodied and rounded, sometimes causing a light tingling of the tongue. Drink this elegant French wine at approx. 10°C (50°F).

     

    PATRIMONIO ROSE

    This French wine has a pale, clear pink colour and aromas of red fruit (cherry, redcurrant), and sometimes also of exotic fruit. Drink this fresh and fruity rose at approx. 10°C (50°F).

     

    PATRIMONIO ROUGE

    Two different types of Patrimonio red are made: a lighter one and the traditional more robust French wine. The lighter Patrimonio is generally ruby red, very fruity (blackcurrant, blackberry), velvet soft in spite of the presence of tannin, and very well balanced.

    When it is older the fruity nose develops earthly notes such as humus. Drink this French wine at approx. 16°C (60 .8°F) with red meat, game, casseroles, and hard cheeses. The more robust, traditional Patrimonio is darker in colour and has more tannin than the lighter version. When older its fruity bouquet develops into a complex nose of overripe preserved fruit, leather, and liquorice. Drink this 'strong man' of a French wine between 16- l8°C (60 .8- 64.4°F) . Both French wines are best decanted several hours before a meal.

     

    VIN DE CORSE CALVI

    Here very fruity red wines, fascinating, refined, and aromatic roses, and almost colourless, comforting, and approachable white wines are produced on very changeable soils of coarse stones, boulders, and gravel using Niellucciu, Grenache, Cinsault, Sciaccarellu, and Vermentinu grapes.

     

    Ajaccio

    This French wine area lies on rough, rocky hills. Ajaccio is proud of its permanent resident - the Sciaccarellu grape - with which the greatest French wines from this area develop a nose that evokes roasted almond and red fruit such as raspberry.

    This traditional French wine is good for laying down. The white Malvoisie (Vermentinu) is also worth laying down.

     

    Vin de Corse Sarténais

    The Sciaccarellu, Grenache and Cinsault vines cultivated on these steep hills produce a full-bodied red wine and fresh rose. These French wines are mainly consumed by the local populace and are rarely seen outside the island.

    • VIN DE CORSE FIGARI

    The most southerly wine-growing area of France, just north of the town of Bonifacio. Sturdy red, rose, and white wines are produced.

    • VIN DE CORSE PORTO VECCHIO

    An elegant, full-bodied, and rounded red wine and fresh, refined, and very aromatic rose are made in the south-east of the island using the Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu grapes, together with Grenache. A very dry white wine that is intensely fruity is made here with Vermentinu grapes.

    • VIN DE CORSE

    In Corsican terms the vineyards around Aleria and close to Bastia are immense at 1,550 hectares. This is a relatively new appellation but the early results are promising. After centuries of neglect the vineyards have been re-established in places where the Greeks and Romans made their best wines, at the foot of 1,200 metres (3 ,937 feet) high rocky walls. All the types of French wine are produced here, including Vin de Pays.

    There are both very traditional winemakers and ultra-modern co-operatives which are gaining an increasing reputation in France and abroad for their less traditional but well-made wines. Even the Vin de Pays here is of quality. The demand for this AC is increasing as is also the case for the Vins de Pays and vins de cepages. Fewer inferior French wines are now being produced on Corsica with the growers having decided to improve their image.{jcomments on}

  • The Rhone Valley - French Wine

       Wine(actually French Wine) has been made for more than 2,000 years between Vienne and Avignon in the valley of the Rhone river. The basis of arguably the best known wine-growing region of France - Cotes du Rhone was established by the Celts, Greeks, and Romans.

    This very extensive French wine region with its many different terroirs and micro climates eventually became established as a distinctive entity.

     

    A fresh breeze

    The French wine from the district around Uzes in the department of Gard enjoyed so much fame in the seventeenth century that it was readily imitated. To protect its origins and quality it was officially recognised in 1650 and its area of origin strictly defined. After a further battle lasting more than a century the Appellation Cotes du Rhone Controlee eventually became a fact in 1937. In 1956 the feared winter mistral blew at speeds of more than 62 miles/100 km per hour for three weeks and the thermometer remained stuck at about minus 59°F (15°C). Disastrously this killed all the olive trees but since the vines had survived these conditions the ruined farmers decided to switch to wine-growing.

    This was the start of the enormous growth of Cotes du Rhone.

     

    23 types of grape

    There are at least 23 different varieties of grape permitted to be used in the wine-growing region of Cotes du Rhone plus the Muscat Petit Grain that is used for the naturally sweet Beaumes-de-Venise. In the northern part ofthe Rhone Valley red wine is exclusively made with Syrah but white wines are produced from Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne.

    In the south they use some Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsauit, and Carignan grapes in addition to Syrah for their reds with the Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc for the white French wines.

     

    The appellations

    Rhone wines are divided into four categories: the generic Appellation Cotes du Rhone Regionale, the better Cotes du Rhone Villages, the Crus, and the satellites that are geographically related but have their own identities (Clairette de Die, Cremant de Die, Vins du Diois, Coteaux du Tricastin, Cotes du Ventoux en Costieres de Nimes).

     

    CÔTES DU RHONE AC - FRENCH WINE

    About 80 per cent of the generic Côtes du Rhone produced are very good. Because this category represents such a wide diversity of terroirs, micro climates. and winemakers, the wine has an equally diverse range of aromatic properties.

    Generally these are comforting and friendly wines. The red is well structured, full of aroma and taste and very rounded. It can be drunk when still young but can also be left for a while.The rose wines come from the south of the region and they range from raspberry colour to salmon pink. These roses are always fruity and yielding. The white wine is dry, well-balanced, well structured, very aromatic, and thirst-quenching.

     

    CÔTES DU RHONE VILLAGES AC

    There are 77 communes in the southern Rhone Valley which are permitted to use Côtes du Rhone Villages on the label of their wines and of these sixteen may also use the village name on the label.

    The stipulations about the planting, care of the vines, yield, and wine-making for these white, rose, and red wines are more rigid. Certain of the best known Côtes du Rhone Villages are Beaumes-deVenise (red and rose), Cairanne (red, rose, and white), Chusclan (red and rose), Laudun (red, rose, and white), Rasteau (red, rose, and white), Rochegude (red, rose, and white),

     Seguret red, rose, and white), Valreas (red, rose, and white), Vinsobres (red, rose, and white) and Visan (red, rose, and white) . These wines are ideal for drinking with Proven~al dishes. Drink the red  French wine at approx. 60.8°F (16°C), the rose at approx. 57.2°F (14°C), and the white at about 53.6°F (12°C).

    {jcomments on}

  • The wines of Provence - French wines

    The wines of Provence - FRENCH WINE

    Cotes de Provence French wineThere are eight AC areas in Provence for a good French wine. We start with the most Northerly and then travel via Nice and along the coast to Aries.

     

    CÔTES DE PROVENCE FRench WINE

    This is the largest appellation of Provence wines in terms of volume. The area is subdivided into five terroirs: Les collines du Haut Pays, La vallee interieure, La bordure maritime, Le bassin du Beausset and La Ste-Victoire.

     

    CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROSE FRENCH WINE

    The colour of the rose depends on the winemaking method used and the length of time that the juice remained in contact with the grape skins. The longer this is, the darker is the wine. Provençal rose is dry, fruity, and elegant. The colour is always clear and sparkling. Drink this French wine at appr. 10°C (50°F).

     

    CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROUGE FRench WINE

    This is an excellent French wine made by traditional methods but with the help of modern technology. The wide differences in colour, bouquet, and taste result from the different terroirs, grapes used, and vinification  method. Some wines are light and fruity with floral notes, others are mainly aged in wood, stronger, and fuller. These French wines need to be kept for a few years before drinking them.

    Drink the lighter coloured fruity types French wine chilled at 14°C (57 .2°F) while the heavier types are better served slightly warmer at approx. 16°C (60.8°F).

     

    COTES DE PROVENCE BLANC FRENCH WINE

    This is a very rare French wine of high quality and always made with just white grapes: Blancs de Blancs. The choice of grapes and the terroir determine the character of the wine - from fresh and lithe to fullbodied and rounded. This French wine is worth discovering. Drink this French wine it chilled at approx. 10- 12°C (50- 53 .6°F) .

    Coteaux Map Wine 

    COTEAUX VAROIS FRench WINE

    Coteaux Varois has only been recognised with an AC appellation since 1993. Pleasing, fruity, and full-bodied wines are made in the centre of the department of Var, around the picturesque little Provençal town of Brignoles.

    Of these, 60% are rose, 35% red, and a mere 5% white wines. This French wine is similar to the Cotes de Provence. The vineyards of Bandol are planted in terraces or restanques on poor, calciferous gravels, protected by the amphitheatre of the wooded mountains (Massif de Ste-Beaume, 1,147 metres/3,763 feet). The sun shines here for at least 3,000 hours per year.

    Fortunately the easterly and south-easterly winds bring showers and the southerly winds from the Mediterranean mitigate the heat. Generations of hard-working wine-growers built and maintain the restanques by hand. It is a constant battle over the course of centuries on this dry soil and steep slopes to prevent erosion. There is never a quiet time in these vineyards. Every job has to be done by hand because machines cannot work these terraces. This has its effect on the price of a good Bandol wine. An important factor in the price is the profit per hectare.

    The legally prescribed maximum yield of 40 hectolitres per hectare is almost impossible to achieve here. The average is around 35 hectolitre per hectare. The total area in cultivation amounts to slightly more than 1,000 hectares. The local winemakers are perfectionists who constantly seek the best sites, the best grapes, the best vats etc. Their results mirror their efforts. Bandol belongs to the elite club of great French wines.

    {jcomments on}

  • Touraine French Wines

    TOURAINE FRENCH WINE

    Touraine red gamay French wineThere are nine appellations around the picturesque town of Tours. This French wines are made from the same grapes as those of Anjou-Saumur. The climate here is very mild and moderate. The underlying strata are mainly tufa but calciferous clay and flint are found in some valleys.

    The dry white Touraine is perhaps the most interesting of the French wines from these parts. It is fresh and fruity, with a pronounced nose and abundant character. In contrast to most of the French wines from the area, this one is made with Sauvignon Blanc. Drinking temperature for Touraine French wine: 48.2-50.0°F (9-10°C).

    The red Gamay (Pineau d'Aunis) French wine is light, lithe, and fresh. It is suitable to be drunk with any meal. Drinking temperature for Gamay French wine: 53.6-57.2°F (12-14°C).