Camille Giroud Bourgogne Rouge
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Taste: fruity, earthy, nutty, sweet and spicy
Best With: chicken, turkey, lean fish
Affordable red Burgundy can be hard to come by, but Camille Girouds pick appears to have it all: its light, its acidic, and its plain delightful.
A smooth, palate-quenching finish emerges from earthy aromas of black cherry, red fruit, mushrooms, and sweet spice. Its better to serve this slightly chilled.
Wines from France have this wonderful power to take you to where that wine is especially from, according to non-French aficionados who have sampled it.
Its because French wines have all of the organoleptic qualities that a high-quality wine-producing country need, but when you go beyond the label, many of them have great stories of history, culture, farming, and the vignerons love waiting to be uncovered.
Domaine De La Charbonniere Chateauneuf
Domaine de la Charbonniere is not your average, everyday wine. This complex and sophisticated blend of red raspberries and maraschino cherries has hints of garrigue, tea leaves with a slight rose flavor mixed in for good measure.
There are dried spices that have been so artfully blended into this masterpiece, and you’ll taste them long after the first sip without even trying to find them.
The nose has the fresh smell of red fruits with oak spice lightly toasting in the background. There’s finesse and power on this palate, and tannins surround it while still presenting an impeccable core.
Best Sparkling : Laherte Frres Blanc De Blancs Brut Nature Champagne Nv
Courtesy of Vivino
Region: Champagne, France | ABV: 12% | Tasting Notes: White flowers, Chalk, Lemon cream, Brioche
This savory blanc de blancs Champagne is produced at the hands of one of the regions only organic/biodynamic producers. Crafted entirely from chardonnay, this lusciously creamy wine is laden with flavors of yellow apples, white flowers, chalk, lemon cream, and brioche. The quality, farming, and taste that this bottle provides for the price is astounding! Bottled with no dosage.
Eric Rydin of New York-based Le Grand Triage notes that Champagne is so insanely consistent, that one can always rely on an amazing bottle every single time.
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Bollinger Rd Extra Brut
Best With: crab, lobster, and shellfish
Bollinger RD is a Champagne-based sparkling wine produced by Bollinger.
RD, or recently dégorgé. This brand lies on its lees for eight years, resulting in complex flavors.
The 1996 vintage was rated 2 Stars Coup de coeur by the Guide Hachette des Vins, and the 1999 vintage was awarded Gold by the Mundus Vini.
Why Is French Wine So Expensive
Being able to hold on to a wine that gets better with age demands a premium, which is why a good vintage increases the price. The most expensive Bordeaux wines can cost anywhere from a few thousand euros to 6-7 figures.But never fear, there are plenty of great French wines that are more reasonably priced, even some of those with the distinction crus and grand crus ranging from 50 on up.
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Best Value French: Chne Bleu Ablard 2011
Region: Rhône Valley | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Black cherry, Red licorice, Earth, Warm cinnamon
From an ancient property at the cornerstone of four appellations in Frances Southern Rhône, near the town of Gigondas and situated in Mont Ventoux, comes this absolute marvel of a wine. Owners Nicole and Xavier Rolet are incapable of making a bad wine, and incredibly, they’ve taken the extraordinary step of aging their wine for a generous amount of time prior to release. The vintage they currently have on the market is the 2012, but its terribly hard to find. Luckily, the 2011 is up for grabs: A decade-aged Rhône red consisting mostly of grenache, it is a testament to the efforts of these renegade vintners.
Wild red berry fruit, blackberry jam, French vanilla bean and garrigue layered with cigar box spices. Silky soft, elongated tannins support a panoply of flavors, from warm cinnamon and brown sugar spices to curry powder-dusted red berry fruit, with generous dollops of black cherry and red licorice. It finishes with grippy acidity and vivid earthy notes.
Region: Douro, Portugal | ABV: 13.8% | Tasting Notes: Cranberry, Raspberry, Blood Orange, Cedar
Classification: How To Pick A Bottle
One thing to look out for is the quality standard. A good bottle of French wine will have the following initials:
- AOC Appellation dOrigine Contrôlée
- AOP Appellation dOrigine Protégée
- IGPIndication Géographique Protégée
- Vin de Table Table wine
As you can imagine, table wine is not great wine, but it is drinkable. And if you are looking for a great bottle of wine, the AOC/AOP wines are further classed based on prestige with Grand cru, Premier Cru to Cinquième Cru , and Village wines.
Now, if you are shopping at your local grocery store, you are likely not going to find any Grand Crus there. Depending on the grocery store, you may not even find any Village wines in there, as if a wine is good enough to identify by its village, it is because the village is of some renown.
Most labels at your local grocery store will only be table wines or have an AOP/AOC label. For the higher-end French wines, you may have to visit a specialized wine shop. You can read more about French wines labels and how to read a label in French here.
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French Wines That Rank Top 5
The gold standard in fine wine is and has always been France. Not only is France the leading exporter of wine in the world, it is home to the worlds greatest wines and wineries. When Robert Mondavi wanted to put the US on the world map for great wines, he went to France for inspiration. When Australias greatest winery, Penfolds wanted to improve themselves, they too turned to the French wines. The story is the same the world over.
I am constantly asked what my top French wines are. Its easy to rattle off the French first growths, Lafite, Latour, , Haut Brion and Mouton, and yes, they are all Great wines. My favorites go a little deeper in France, its wines, culture and style. Here are my personal Top 5. Remember, favorite French wines are like political opinions. Everyone has one and everyone has a different opinion.
This is the oldest single family owned vineyard in the Bordeaux region of France. Purchased in 1826 by Hugh Barton it is still owned and run by the Barton family today. We all have that epiphany wine: the one sip from that one wine that makes us realize what great wine is and should taste like. Mine was a 2010 Chateau Leoville Barton. Ive had LB wines as old as 1961 and believe me when I tell you, they are a true world-class wine.
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The Top Five Best Wine Brands
Based in sunny Tuscany, in the Bolgheri region of Italy, Masseto is a cult winery with an iconic vineyard thats known for producing top quality vintages. The brand has received multiple 100-point scores from critics and is notorious for being difficult to get hold of. Production totals around just 30,000 bottles a year and the average bottle costs around $790. The vineyard, which was first founded by Lodovico Antinori in 1981, converted entirely to organic farming in 2012 and keeps climate change at the forefront of its production methods. The brand was a hit from its first release in 1986 and is one of the most well-known and best-performing wineries.
Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards is a Californian wine estate and another cult winery. The brand produces the most expensive wines in North America and its Sauvignon Blanc occupies the top spot, with an average sales price of $5,974. In order to buy its wine directly from the brand, buyers must sign up for a waiting list. The average time to wait on this list before being able to buy a bottle is around 12 years. Due to a surge in high-profile counterfeit wine cases, each bottle of Screaming Eagle comes with a bubble-coded security seal. It keeps its doors firmly shut to the public.
Bodega Catena Zapata
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Best Sweet: Patrick Bottex Bugey
Courtesy of Drizly
Region: Bugey-Cerdon, France | ABV: 8% | Tasting Notes: Raspberry compote, Cherries, Sweet spice
Never heard of the wines of Bugey-Cerdon before? If you like pink, pleasantly sweet, and slightly sparkling wines , then these bottles are a must. This traditional regional blend of gamay and poulsard oozes with flavors of raspberry compote, ripe cherries, and sweet spice. This frothy, fizzy, and all-around tasty pick is honestly too easy to drink. Sweet wine skeptics, this stuff promises to change your mind.
Top 100 Wines Of France 2021
Saturday, December 4, 2021
An incredible Champagne Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2008 is our French Wine of the Year in 2021, and it highlights how we at JamesSuckling.com believe the appellation is making some of the most exciting wines in France and some of the best values in fine wine.
Granted, the best of Champagne is almost as expensive as the best of Burgundy, but provenance and process in making these great bottles are unequalled in the world of wine today. We have always believed that the best Champagnes are indeed great wines first and should be viewed and consumed as such!
Look at how one of the owners of Taittinger, Vitalie Taittinger, describes their winning 2008 prestige cuvée blanc de blancs: Its the expression of chardonnay that is super pure, she said in a Zoom interview with me earlier this year. In the beginning you feel the youth of the wine. And you are on the energy of the chardonnay. And you have something that is pure and precise. Then you feel it is a large wine but then very straight then you wait for the second life of the wine in your glass. And the complexity and the years that are precious to the wine start appearing.
READ MORE: BEAUJOLAIS CONTINUES TO COME OF AGE
No 1: Tasting Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2008 with Vitalie Taitttinger.
BOJO TO BURGUNDY
James Suckling, Chairman/Editor
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Bndicte And Stephane Tissot Les Bruyeres Jura Arbois Chardonnay
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Taste: fresh, aromatic floral
Best With: duck and goose
Starting in the late 2000s, the Jura gained popularity for its distinct oxidative white and light-colored red wines.
However, when the hoopla faded, it became evident that normcore ouillé whites, so named because barrels are topped up, as is ordinary practice everywhere else, might be the long-term winners.
The approach was used by notable vignerons Bénédicte and Stephane Tissot to mature the Jura from its reputation as a quirky outlier for bottlings like this one: a lacy, Puligny-like Chardonnay grown on pure limestone.
Patrick Bottex Bugey Cerdon Rose La Cueille
If you’re looking to serve a non-traditional sparkling wine, then Patrick Bottex Bugey is among the best Rosé wines for you. It has an unusual flavor that’s slightly sweet and makes for the best party choice in hot weather or any time of year! The blend includes 80% Gamay with 20% Poulsard which gives it its unique taste.
It takes on a dark rose coloration and tastes like wild strawberries, perfect for those who love fruity flavors! With only 8% alcohol content, this light red sparkler won’t leave your guests feeling sluggish after indulging during dessert hour at summer parties.
What makes this wine unique from the rest is instead of using the standard fermentation process, it was bottled partway through fermentation then refermented in a bottle until it reaches the desired sweetness.
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Explore French Wines On The Water
As and when youre next able to visit France, by far the best way to find the best French wines to drink is to visit the vineyards themselves and experience the world of vin for yourself.
Our luxury hotel barge cruises cover all the main wine regions and include wine tastings and wine pairings on and off board.
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Best Italian: Girolamo Russo A Rina Etna Rosso
Courtesy of Vivino
Region: Etna, Sicily, Italy | ABV: 13.5% ABV | Tasting Notes: Red berries, Ash, Black pepper, Clove
Love Italian reds from Piedmont, Tuscany, and beyond? If youve never dove into the world of earthy Sicilian reds, specifically from Etna, we cant recommend them enough.
These earthy, soil-driven wines come from the ash-laden volcanic soils of the region, which impart an undeniable mineral quality to the juice. This mouthwatering expression oozes with flavors of red berries, smoky ash, black pepper and clove.
I love a good Nerello Mascalese from Sicily. Theres something about that volcanic rusticity and high-toned cherry notes that strike a chord with me. … If the red wine is mostly mass produced, then its a no-no for me. Sylvester Inda, Wine Manager, CoolVines Powerhouse
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What Is The Difference Between French Champagne And Other Sparkling Wine
Champagne must come from the Champagne region of France. It must be composed primarily of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier or some combination of those three. Then, it must be put through a second fermentation in the bottle , and aged for a set period on the spent yeast cells, which lends Champagne its famous bread-like aromas. If sparkling wine is made anywhere else in the world, or anywhere else in France, even if it follows those exact same laws, it cannot be called Champagne, though the label will likely say Méthode Champenoise or Méthode Traditionelle. The Champagne region itself has famously chalky soils, which lend the wines from there an inimitably mineral character that is reproduced almost nowhere else in the world.
Browse our full selection of French wine online or check out our selection of highly-rated French wine for a great new French wine to try this week!
The South West Region
This region is perhaps the least sexiest when it comes to the name but its important to note that this isnt really an official name, its more of a name born of a description for the regions outside of Bordeaux .
The wines from the region fairly similar, hence why theyre grouped together and are akin to the wines from Bordeaux.
The best part about visiting this region is that these regions are filled with so many amazing gems which can sometimes end up overlooked by visitors distracted by nearby Bordeaux.
This all means theres a treasure trove of absolutely stunning villages, amazing vineyards and fantastic food just waiting to be discovered in one of the very best wine regions in France to discover. Youll love it.
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Best Chilean: J Bouchon Pas Salvaje
Courtesy of Plonk Wine Club
Region: Central Valley, Chile | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Red fruits, Cherry, Wild Strawberry, Floral
Never heard of País before? If you love earthy, medium-bodied reds with tons of acid, then this historic grape needs to be on your radar.
Produced from organically farmed vineyards in the heart of Chiles Central Valley, this flavor-packed wine jumps with notes of wild strawberries, red flower petals and wild herbs. For a crowd-pleasing red that promises to satisfy the masses, look no further than this tasty, budget-friendly option.
Is French Wine Better Than Other Wines
The French wine industry is highly regulated, with production techniques having been established centuries ago, and refined over the ages. The wines are narrowly classified and ranked by grape, soil, and acidity. In France, two vineyards on the same mountain slope may have different cru classifications. It is this exigence that gives French wine its reputation for being superior to other wines.
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Best Australian Red: Penfolds 2017 Bin 389 South Australia Cabernet Shiraz
Region: South Australia, Australia | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Black cherries, Cassis, New leather, Fruit cake
Penfolds, unquestionably the greatest winemaking estate in Australia, is best known for its iconic wine, Penfolds Grange. Chief winemaker Peter Gago made it his mission to produce well-structured wines with deep flavors and, as he puts it, a propensity to age.
While Grange is primarily shiraz, with a splash of cabernet sauvignon sourced from specific sites in South Australia, Penfolds’ Bin 389 combines 54% cabernet sauvignon with 46% shiraz and is often referred to as Baby Grange. Plus, this wine comes at a more approachable price tag than the Grange.
Region: Mendoza, Argentina | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Cherry compote, Salty dark chocolate, Cedar spice
Achaval-Ferrer’s Quimera blend is a wine of remarkable precision: Co-founder Santiago Achaval, one of the most respected winemakers in Argentina, and winemaker Roberto Cipresso comb the vineyards, tasting grapes and hand-selecting vines specifically for this blend. In 2014, they conceived a dynamic and complex blend of 50% malbec, 24% cabernet franc, 18% merlot and 8% cabernet sauvignon.
Region: Ribera del Duero, Spain | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Spiced plums, Forest underbrush, Cigar box
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