Get to know: French Wines
Our French wine online collection contains a carefully curated selection of wines from winemaker's we love. Get to know more about French wine with our quick guide below:
France is home to many of the world's greatest wines. It is among the largest wine producing countries, second only to Italy in terms of how much juice they ferment. There are wine regions all over France producing wines of all styles, making it possible to find something to enjoy no matter what your taste.
Key Regions for French Wine
Bordeaux is one of the largest wine producing regions and home to some of the most iconic wines in the world. If you hear someone refer to Claret, they're talking about Bordeaux. The area, in southwest France, is divided by the Gironde River.
The left bank of the river is home to Médoc where wines are made predominantly with Cabernet Sauvignon blended with Merlot. The right bank is where you'll find Merlot-led blends from Appellations such as Pomerol and Saint-Emilion.
This area situated between Dijon and Lyon is dominated by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Land here is at a premium and the best vineyard sites are split between many small winemakers whose estates are called Domains. The soils are rich with limestone which contributes to the wine's minerality.
The Rhône Valley is in the South East of France and follows the Rhône river as it flows from the Alps all the way down to the Mediterranean sea. This area has a long history of wine and is divided into two distinct areas. Here you'll find full-bodied reds using Syrah and Grenache grapes
This area is best known for the very dry, minerally Sauvignon Blanc from the appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé which are found in the Centre-Loire region at the exact centre point of France. It is cooler here, with warm summers and cold, snowy winters and it has chalky limestone soils.
This area needs no introduction I'm sure. Champagne continues to be the choice to mark a celebration all over the world and only wine from this region is allowed to bear the name on its label.
Key Grape Varieties
The most well-known grape varieties are all from here: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay are noble varieties from France that are grown all over the world.
Merlot - wines made with this grape can be a great option for an easy drinking wine. You will find it in lots of wines from Bordeaux, but look to Chile if you’re after something juicy & fruity.
Cabernet Sauvignon - one of the world's most recognised red wine grapes and is grown in a variety of different climates. It tends to produce full bodied wines with high tannins and an acidity which adds to the wine’s aging potential.
Pinot Noir - a thin skinned variety that can be tricky to grow. It suits cooler areas and produces delicately fragrant, subtly complex wines with flavours of cherry, raspberry and some savoury spice. It has less tannins than other red wines and high acidity.
Syrah - is also known as Shiraz when grown in warmer areas and produces reds that are full of blackberry fruit, often with a peppery spiciness. It can range from medium-bodied to full-bodied with lots of tannin.
Chardonnay - one of the most versatile grapes in the world, Chardonnay can be citrusy & lean but also rich, buttery & full bodied depending on how the winemaker uses it.
Sauvignon Blanc - The Loire is where the best Sauvignon Blanc is thought to be found. The cool climate produces fruity, minerally wines with lively acidity.