wines of france

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  • 1. W INES OF FRANCE Nobody can argue with the supremacy of France as the country that has set international standards by which wine is judged. Though the New World wines are taking over French wines terms of sale & popularity, these wines still remain one of the costliest and classiest. One of the main reasons for this shift is the rigidity of these French wine i.e. there are fixed laws regarding the grape variety, yield, vine density and lot more factors which leave no room for French wine makers to innovate and improvise over the existing wines & their taste. As we know France experiences one of best climate for wine growing, just think about the grape varieties growing outside France and giving wonderful results, what will be resultant wine if they grow in Franc but then its just a thought. A Brief History Greeks arrived in France in 600 B.C. and brought viticulture with them. In 200 B.C. Romans captured some of the France and greatly influenced the wine-making By the 6th century A.D. the Roman Empire disintegrated and Christianity was spread in France. Now the vineyards came under the rule of monasteries and churches. The wine-making greatly flourished under their rule
  • 2. In 1350 one million cases were exported from Bordeaux, and in 1790 six million cases were exported. With the French Revolution in the end of 18th century the vineyards slipped out of the hands of churches and went to the local people. The vintage of 1854 was disastrous. The Phylloxera epidemic spread in 1860 when a winegrower imported some American vines. It destroyed about 6.2 million acres of vineyards in France. The only effective solution found was to graft European vines on these American rootstocks. The first classification was done in 1855 in Bordeaux Classification The classification system in reality evolved in 1930s. The economic depression during this time resulted in the plantation of hybrids, thus there was a wine surplus and nefarious blending. In 1932 the Institute National des Appellations dorigine(INAO) was founded in Paris. It covers the following aspects: Production area Vine varieties Ripeness and alcoholic strength Yields Vine density Wine making and distillation Appellation dOrigin Controlee(AOC): It represents around 52% of all French wines Vins delimites de qualite superieur(VDQS): It was founded in 1937 and contributes only 3% of total French wine production.
  • 3. Vins de Pays : It was created in 1970 and formalized in 1979. It is related to country wines and gives some guarantee of authenticity and quality. It contributes to the 33% of total production. Vin de Table : It is for the ordinary wines or table wines. It was earlier known as Vin De Consommation Courante (VCC) or Vin Ordinaire. These wines can be a blended with wines from the EU(European Union). Principle Grape Varieties Red: Cabernet Sauvignon: It is dominant in the Medoc. It is the most highly flavored, with small berries making dark, tannic wine that demands aging, but has both depth and cut of flavor. Being a late ripener, it needs warm soil, gravel suits it well. Specially grown in Bordeaux (Medoc &Graves) Cabernet Franc: It is bigger, juicer grape. It was widely planted before Cabernet Sauvignon was introduced in Bordeaux in 18th century. Its wine has delicious soft fruit flavors but less tannin and depth. Bordeaux & Loire are the main regions of grape cultivation. Merlot: Merlot buds, flowers and ripens early, making it ready to pick sooner, with an extra degree of alcohol in its higher sugar. Merlot wine has good color and an equally spicy but softer flavor than Cabernet Sauvignon, making the wine that matures sooner. This is the grape that gives Chateau Petrus its texture and flavor. Pinot Noir: Thin skinned, lightly pigmented Pinot noir produces some of the lightest, least tannic wine. Classic growing areas are Burgundy and Champagne.
  • 4. Syrah: This is very full-flavored grape is renowned for producing strong, sturdy wines of deep purple color, capable of aging for many years. Mostly grown in Rhone valley. Gamay: Gamay thrives in Beajulais region. Wines made from this grape vary in intensity, but most of them are low in tannin, light, fresh, and fruity, with a sort of fruit-punch flavor. White: Chardonnay: It is the most favorable grape amongst the winegrowers. This grape grows well in both coolest regions of Northern France and warmer regions of Southern France. It is made in a medium to full bodied style, with medium to full intensity of apple fruit aroma and flavor. Classic growing regions include Burgundy and Champagne. Sauvignon Blanc: This grape is grown in Bordeaux and Loire valley. It normally give fresh, fruity wines that are medium bodied with medium flavor intensity. Riesling: This is widely grown in Alsace region. It requires long, cool growing season to come to perfect ripeness. Wines made from Riesling are usually of a light to medium body, with a floral, very fruity character and sweetness. Chenin Blanc: This grape is grown in Loire valley where the cool climate seems to provide perfect growing conditions. Chenin blanc are usually light in body and flavor intensity. Semillon: It is grown in Bordeaux especially in Graves. In Sauternes and Barsac it is affected by botrytis and it is major component of in the sweet white wines of those areas. Gewrztraminer: This grape produces very attractive wines with more emphatic fruit character and an unmistakable touch of cinnamon spice. This is widely grown in the region of Alsace. Regions of France
  • 5. Bordeaux Bordeaux It is situated towards southwestern France with Cognac in the north It is sited on the either side of the river Gironde. 80 % of the wines produced here are red. Four factors make bordeaux the most important vineyard Region of all: its quality, size, variety & unity. This region is divided into districts which are further divided into communes / parishes, which is again divided into chateaus.
  • 6. Main districts are - Medoc Pomerol St Emillion Sauternes Graves Main Grape Variety used: Cabernet Sauvginon (R) Cabernet Franc (R) Merlot (R) Malbec (R) Semillon (W) Muscadelle (W) Sauvignon Blanc (W) Terroir Soil: Gravelly Limestone and Clay Soil Climate: Moderate and humid due to the river Gironde. Great wines of Bordeaux Chateau Haut Brion Chateau Latour Chateau Mouton Rothschild Chateau Margaux Chateau Lafite Rothschild Chateau Petrus Chateau DYquem (W) Burgundy (Bourgogne)
  • 7. It is situated in east central France, towards the south of Champagne. Principle grape varieties are Gamay and Pinot Noir for red and Chardonnay for white. Due to its southern location the grapes do not ripen properly in the poor years. Chapitalization is carried out to counter act high acidity & low alcohol Major Wine Producing Regions are - Cote d maconnais - Cote d Chalonnaise - Beajolais - Cote de nuits - Cote de beaune - Chablis Terroir Soil: Limestone Climate: Semi-Continental Famous Wines Chablis (W) Beaujolais Pouilly Fuisse (W) Pommard
  • 8. Rhone It takes its name from the Rhone River valley and is located in the south east of Paris. Also known as Cote du rhone. It is located below burgundy in the southeast section of France. The best wines come from the southern part of this valley. 90 % of these wines are red with a higher alcohol content than most of the French wines They are robust & full-bodied with plenty of bouquet & taste. There are more than 15 varieties of grapes used here, some of them are Syrah, Grenache and Cinsalt. Terroir Soil: Granite in north, sandy in south. Climate: Hot summers and autumns, Significant humidity due to Rhone river Famous Wines Chateau Neuf du Pape this district is named after a ruined castle in France. Considered one of the best reds, 13 grape varieties are used in production of this full-bodied wine. Cote du Rotie One of the famous Rhone red wines made by law from a min of 80% syrah & 20 % Viognier grapes. This is a full-bodied wine with a heavy tannic flavor. Hermitage Fullest of all the Rhone valley wines made from syrah grapes Tavel (Rose) Most famous & finest rose wine of France. These are soft with just the right amount of taste & fullness. They are quite dry & drunk 2 years of the vintage Loire Also known as Val- de loire. It is named after the Loire River.
  • 9. Like Alsace this region lies far north & doesnt receive sufficient sunshine to fully ripen red grapes. Terroir Soil: Combination of clay, granite, chalky, limestone and volcanic soil Climate: Relatively