Top 75 French Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking (a non-dump bucket list if you will!)

If you are a wine lover, wine connoisseur, wine aficionado or even if you just like to have a couple of glasses on a Friday night, it soon becomes obvious that there are some wines that are held in a higher esteem in the wine world.  Sometimes, it is because these wines are very rare.  Other times, it’s because the wine has a place in history.   Sometimes it’s because the wine is just that good.  Here is a list of 75 wines from France that make up that category.  A few caveats.  I have not tried every wine on this list.  Some I have and others I hope to.  Many of these wines are rare and hard to find.  That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on the list.  After all, if the opportunity presents itself, go for it. 

Bandol Wines: Great Red Wines from Provence

Provence lies in the south east corner of France.  There are many famous wine regions within Provence, but none make better wines than Bandol.  Wine has been made in Bandol since the Phoenicians planted the first vines 2,500 years ago.

Provence Rosés: A Summer Staple from Southern France.

Summertime is finally about here.  Warm evenings on the front porch or perhaps the back deck are a great time of year for Rosé wine.  Rose’s are made around the world, but, when I think Rosé, I think Provence, France.  One-half of all rosé wine made in France comes from Provence.  It is there that these wines are part of the lifestyle.   The most enjoyable bottle of wine I ever had (not necessarily the best) was at an outdoor sidewalk café called La Piazza in Cannes France.  The film festival was going on.  There were beautiful people and incredible cars going by.  The day was warm with great breezes coming in off the sea.  The wine itself (Chateau Rasque Rosé) was technically average, but on that occasion it was perfect.  Such are the Rosés from Provence. 

Rosé du Loire? Mais oui! Cabernet Franc’s Lighter Shade

The Bay Area is experiencing an unseasonable hot spell.  And here, like most places suffering under the unrelenting rays of our nearest star, rosé is king. 

But not just any rosé.  Survey the bottles of blush pinch-hitting for rouge in wine enthusiasts’ lineups these days, and you’ll find a predominance of wine from Southern France.  And rightly so – no region does rosé better than the appellations bordering the sun-lit Cote d’Azur.  But Provence is not the only show in town.  Other regions, not only in France but also in Spain, Germany, and Italy, produce delightful examples of warm weather’s red-substitute. 

All Rosés Lead to Southern France

It’s hot. The Fourth of July witnessed blistering temperatures around California, and this time the Bay Area was no exception. In my last column, I bemoaned the cool temperatures that typically beset the San Francisco metropolitan area in June and July and used the unseasonable chill as an excuse to explore one of the heavier wine regions of France, the syrah-saturated Northern Rhône. But our recent string of 75-plus-and-sunny days shows my pessimism to be ill-advised.

Bandol: Provence’s Best Kept Secret

Challenge: Name what some have termed the five “noble wines” of France and Italy—those special regions whose depth, expression, tradition, and class have historically set the gold standard for distinguished wines and up-and-comers alike.

Hint: They all begin with the letter “B.”
If you have a basic knowledge of the world of wine, you’ll quickly come up with the first two answers: Bordeaux and Burgundy, the most famous of French appellations and perhaps the best known wine regions on earth.

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