France: Articles on French Wine & Wine Regions

Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – The Pinnacle of Pinot Noir

France's Burgundy Wine Region: A Primer on the History, Wines, Vineyards & Terroir contains an excellent introduction into the ethereal wine of one of the most famous wine producing regions.  No winery is more famous, or produces such legendary wines in Burgundy than Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.  Often abbreviated as DRC, the winery makes some of the most exclusive and expensive wines in the world.  They are, for those lucky enough to have tried them, the pinnacle of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

Q&A with Jean-Michel Cazes of Château Lynch-Bages

Château Lynch-Bages has become one of the most celebrated wineries in France. Château Lynch-Bages located in Pauillac on the left bank in the Medoc Château Lynch-Bages is an 1855 classified Fifth Growth. Since 1973 it has been owned by the enigmatic Jean-Michel Cazes and is now run by his son, Jean-Charles. Jean-Michel Cazes assumed the management of his family’s properties including Château Lynch Bages, Les Ormes de Pez, and Villa Bel Air in Bordeaux, Xisto in Portugal and Tapanappa in Australia. Jean-Michel Cazes has been awarded France’s highest honor, La Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, Decanter Magazine’s Man of the Year, and the Institute of Masters in Wine awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Fundamentally, what are the differences between old world and new world wines?

Differences between wine regions originate in differences in soils, grades varietals and mainly climate, or rather different combinations of these key factors. There are many different styles of wine around the world, old or new. But I am convinced that old world wines benefit from a long history and experience.

Q&A with Georges Duboeuf, Founder of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf

Georges Duboeuf is practically a legend. Originally from the Pouilly-Fuissé region of Burgundy, Duboeuf was raised on a small farm where his family owned a few acres of Chardonnay vines. His father died when Georges was young, therefore his uncle and older brother, Roger, took over the business. Duboeuf helped out on the family vineyard growing up, even using the manual grape crusher when he was just six years old. By age 18 he was delivering wine on his bicycle from producers to local restaurants. He began bottling Beaujolais to meet one of his customer's demands. Duboeuf became a négociant in 1964, when he founded Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. He is best known for Beaujolais Nouveau, though he produces many others. His wines now hold world-wide appeal and are sold in an astonishing 120 countries.

The Vouvray Region of France's Loire Valley: The Home of Chenin Blanc

France’s Loire Valley, is home to many great wines including the region of Vouvray, the home of Chenin Blanc.  While Chenin Blanc wines are made around the world, perhaps nowhere else makes such distinctive and wonderful wines from that grape as the Loire Valley.  The Loire Valley is in northeastern France and Vouvray is located east of the city of Tours along the right bank of the Loire River.

Languedoc, France Vintage Chart

Languedoc, France    
2009 93 D/H
2008 89 D/H

Cabernet Franc (and other Reds), Loire Valley, France Vintage Charts

Cabernet Franc (and other Reds),  Loire Valley, France    
2009 93 D/H
2008 87

Muscadet, Loire Valley, France Vintage Chart

Muscadet,  Loire Valley, France    
2009 92 D/H
2008 89 D

Sancerre/Pouilly Fusse, Loire Valley, France Vintage Charts

Sancerre/Pouilly Fusse,  Loire Valley, France    
2009 90 D
2008 87 D

Cahors – The French Village Where Malbec Got Its Start

Cahors MapThe Village of Cahors is in the southwestern part of France.  The area is known for its red wines made predominantly from the Malbec grape, the same grape that is being used in Argentina to make some of the most popular wines being sold today.  For those fans of Malbec, it may prove interesting to go back and try some wines from its homeland.

Pétrus – An Unofficial First Growth of Bordeaux's Right Bank

When considering the unofficial lists of “First Growths of the Right Bank” in Bordeaux, Chateau Pétrus must be included.  Pétrus is located in the tiny commune of Pomerol on the right bank of the Gironde River.  The wines of Pomerol have never been classified, but there is no doubt that Pétrus is in the highest echelon of wines produced there.  It is also one of the most expensive wines sold anywhere in the world.  While the name of the estate is Chateau Pétrus, there is no grand Chateau on the premises.  There is a modest two story house on the property.  Perhaps because of that, or perhaps just due to its reputation, the wines are often just referred to as Pétrus.  The name is homage to St. Peter whose picture appears on the label.

Pétrus does not have the long history of many of the great Bordeaux wines.  Thomas Jefferson most likely never drank it.  The estate property was originally owned by the Arnaud family since the mid 1700s.  At that time, the estate was 17 acres.  The name Pétrus can be found in records dating back to 1837.  In 1868 Chateau Pétrus was ranked in quality behind two other Pomerol estates:  Vieux Chateau Certan and Chateau Trotanoy, as listed by Cocks and Fèret, one of the leading Bordeaux reference’s of its day.

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