Understanding French Wines
Many people are confused over the large variety of French wines that are available today. People become quite lost when it comes to making the decision of which French wine will be the best choice for their needs.
This article will hopefully go a long way to removing the confusion that comes with the world of French wines and knowing how to select the best one. We’ll start by looking at seven of the major wine regions of France and the wines produced there
Being one of the most well known wine regions, the Bordeaux region produces some of the best wines that France has to offer. These wines are mostly produced using the Cabernet Sauvignon and black Cabernet Franc grapes (found primarily in the Medoc district) and the black Merlot grape.
All Cabernet Sauvignon wines are among the best wines in the world and will improve substantially with age. By properly cellaring, these wines will develop their distinctive aroma of blackcurrants with an overtone of cedar, leather and violets. These tastes will become very smooth over time. Merlot grapes are similar in tastes, but the aromas are more subtle than what is found in a Cabernet Sauvignon.
White wines are also produced in the region to a lesser extent and from the same types of grapes. While this may seem a bit strange, you need to remember that grape juice is normally colourless, and it’s the skin of the black grape that gives red wines their colour.
The wines from this region are produced using the black Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes, as well as from the white Chardonnay grape. The Pinot Noir grape is one of the oldest varieties of grapes and has a reputation for being difficult to grow. If it can be grown, it can produce some fantastic full-bodied wines. Pinot Noir grapes produce wines that that have a distinct cherry aroma that also have a spiciness of mint or cinnamon.
The Chardonnay grape will produce a light dry wine with a slight fruity taste of apples, lemons or peaches.
The wines of the Beaujolais wines are produced from the white Chardonnay and the black Gamay grapes. These wines are normally light and fresh-tasting with a fruity flavour. Many of these types of wines are also a bit fizzy in texture as well.
The red wines produced in this region are produced from the black Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. The white wines are produced using the white Muscat grape.
The Syrah grape (also called Shiraz in some parts of the world) produces wines that are very dark to almost black in colour and have a very spicy aroma. The Rhone variety of this grape forms the base of numerous blended wines, such as the famous Chateauneuf du Page.
The white wines made from the Muscat grape are quite intense and sweet with a strong and intense aroma.
The grapes of this region include the white Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris grapes, as well as the black Pinot Noir.
The Sauvignon Blanc is grown widely around the world and is often the base of many blended wines. However, in the Loire, it is used to make an unblended wine that has a smell that is described by some as ‘aggressive’.
Pinot Gris grapes produce wines with a light lemon flavour. Depending on the ripeness of the grapes, the wines can be either tangy or rich, full-bodied or round. This type of wine is one of the few white varieties that can improve with age.
This is also a very famous wine region for obvious reasons. The main grapes used here are the black Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and the white Chardonnay. The produced in this region are described by wine enthusiasts as thin and tart, and are used for producing some of the world’s finest sparkling wines.
Even though the grapes in this region are similar to those produced in the Loire, the growing conditions are different which produce wines that resemble German wines in character. By this, these wines are similar to Riesling. Some rosé wines are also produced in this region.
As you can see, the variety of French wines is very large, both with white and red varieties. Because of this variety, you can be assured that no matter what taste in wine you prefer, you’ll be able to find a French wine that will suit you!