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France doesn’t have the best reputation for consistency and value when it comes to wine, but it’s come a long way in recent years.  Well, actually, our wine stores and supermarkets have come a long way in making it much easier for us to spot the good’uns.  A walk up the aisles now gives us plenty of variety, much more consistency and some great value.  But does France give us anything that we can’t buy from every other great wine producing country.

The Short Answer:

Yes it does.  As with their food produce (take Brie de Meaux for example) they protect their wine styles fiercely, ensuring their wines speak of their area of origin.  ‘Gut de terroir’ they call it … the taste of the grape in that particular soil in that particular area.

Given then, that the French work so hard to protect their wine styles and our UK wine buyers have made it increasingly ‘safe’ for us to buy them, it seems that there’s never been a better time to head for the shops.

Chablis

Every wine country in the world wants to make one of these …
but they can’t.  The result of Chardonnay, grown on fossil rich kimmeridgean clay soils in the cool climate of northern burgundy, these wines are dry with plenty of green apple fruit and incredibly classy.  The only Chardonnay I know of that Sauvignon Blanc lovers will enjoy too.

Buy

St Veran

One of France’s most consistently delicious expressions of Chardonnay.  Here, in southern Burgundy, the warm sun heats up the clay rich vineyards to produce wonderful creamy, citrus
like wines.

Buy

Bordeaux Dessert wine (Sauternais)

The most famous sweet wine in the world.  Sauternes sits to the south of Bordeaux where they allow the Semillon and Muscadelle grapes to ‘dry rot’ in September.  This concentrates the sugar and makes for an intensely sweet dessert wine that’s a match made in heaven with Tarte Tatin.

Buy

Condrieu

The most well known appellation of the Northern Rhone and
unquestionably the greatest expression of Viognier … in the world.  This is the benchmark.  It’s expensive but if you want to experience the ripest peach getting hitched to the raciest apricot then try this wine below.

Buy

White Bordeaux

Made with a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc this offers something a little different to your standard Sauvignon These wines when done well are creamy and moreish with flavours such as baked apples and pears, crème brûlée and carmelized grapefruit. Click below to see for yourself.

Buy

Where Next?

Here are 3 more fantastic French wines at affordable prices which, although we don't stock are just too delicious not to give a shout out. I've found 3 great links to wines that really exemplify their respective genre's:

Muscadet de Sevre et Maine ‘sur Lie’

Famed for producing 1980’s battery acid, Muscadet is now a delicious Sauvignon look-a-like with energy, freshness and plenty of ripe fruit.

Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine ‘Sur Lie’, Domaine de la Tourmaline @ £7.99 from Majestic

Vouvray

Vouvray has to be made using Chenin Blanc and here in the Loire it can conjure up a whole orchard of fruit in the glass.  Look for Vouvray Sec if you want a dry wine and strap yourself in for a wonderful taste sensation.

Vouvray ‘Cuvée de Silex’, Bernard Fouquet @ £9.99 from Waitrose

Sancerre

This is the most famous appellation of the Loire Valley where Sauvignon expresses itself with crisp, gooseberry like fruit and freshly cut grass.  The perfect wine with seafood.

Sancerre, Domaine Naudet @ £14.99 from Waitrose

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