There is probably no more prestigious wine region in the world than Bordeaux. The wines of Bordeaux have been considered among France’s best for hundreds of years.
Champagne: Producers and Labels, Vintage Storage, and How to Shop for a High Quality Bottle - Part Two
Champagne is a sparkling wine made in the Champagne (AOC) region of France. Some of the most famous wineries in the world are located there. They deserve their fame for consistently producing some of the most ethereal wines anywhere. These wines can be expensive so it is important to have a strategy in mind when making purchases. To learn the history of Champagne, the region and the developments in Champagne, please see Part One of this series. One issue with buying Champagne is storage. Champagne is delicate and improper storage can easily hurt the wine. When a consumer sees a bottle either in a store or on a restaurant’s list, how do they know what condition the bottle is in. Of course, in a restaurant setting, the patron, if they have enough confidence, can send the bottle back, although that is not always easy to do.
Very few wines are as universally known as Champagne. While a wine lover may certainly know the names of Napa, Bordeaux, Burgundy, or even Chianti, even the most ardent teetotaler surely recognizes the name Champagne. Champagne is a wine that is intertwined with history and at least the last 300 years of civilization.
In most wine producing regions of the world, there is a government body that attempts to classify wines in order to protect both the producers and the consumers from fraud. This (quasi) governmental entity ensures that the information on the label is correct and can be relied upon by the consumer...
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.
Wines from the Rhone Valley in France can be great values especially those wines labeled Cotes du Rhone. Cotes du Rhone is an AOC wine whose territory extends over the Rhone Valley from Vienne in the north to Avignon in the south. Cote means hillside and Rhone is the famous river that runs thru southeastern France. The AOC spans across areas in both the northern and southern Rhone Valleys. Cotes du Rhone is often referred to as a generic appellation because it is the lowest level of AOC wines and covers such a large area. All though not the subject of this article, the AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages allows for “better” wines coming from one of the allowed villages. These will be explored in a future article.
In Part I of this series, Wines of Burgundy's Beaujolais Wine Region: Quality You Might Not Expect , I discussed the history of Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nouveau wines. In Part II, I will continue that discussion, but more importantly, review the individual terroir and the producers of some very fine age worthy wines.
This is Part One of a Two Part Series on Beaujolais Beaujolais is one of the most misunderstood wines in all of France. Most people know Beaujolais Nouveau as the “grape drink” masquerading as wine that is released every November to much fanfare. There is another side as well. Beaujolais can be a complex wine capable of improving in a cellar and even the best producers can be purchased for reasonable pricing. Beaujolais is a wine that every wine lover should get to know.
On the eastern end of the Loire Valley in France sit the two communes of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé where arguably the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world is produced. For many, this is the true home for this grape. While new world producers in California, New Zealand and elsewhere are creating excellent fruit laden Sauvignon Blanc’s, the producers in the Loire Valley excel in complex mineral driven versions of Sauvignon Blanc. Among all of the regions of the Loire utilizing this grape, the reputations of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé are the best.
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.