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France

France

The influence of France's vine growing prowess cannot be denied. It's geographic range, coupled to tradition and confidence has lead to it's prominence in setting the benchmark for wine across the world. The defining feature of French wines is terroir, a combination of environmental factors which give the wines character and style. 

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    • Origin
    • Burgundy
    • France
    Very attractive fresh red fruit nose. The palate is lively with plenty of ripe cherry fruit, good length. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Burgundy
    • France
    Macerated cherry and pitt fruit aromas with a nuanced finish which hints at liquorice. Read More
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    • Origin
    • St Julien
    • Bordeaux
    • France
    Finely balanced and well structured this excellent St Julien shows clearly defined ripe dark fruits on the nose and palate with more complex notes of ... Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    • Bordaux
    An unclassic blend from the region of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon. Soft purple hue with light aromas of cheery, blackcurrant and hints of vanilla. A lov... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Burgundy
    • Cotes de Beaune
    • France
    Fleshy and crunchy on the palate with a red fruit expression that leaves a fresh sensation. The tannins are soft and smooth and the finish long and si... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Champagne
    Fresh on the palate with subtle aromas of toasty brioche.  Read More
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    • Origin
    • Burgundy
    • France
    Ripe, fresh and attractively fresh with notes of liqueur-like purple fruit, earth, pepper, and a hint of violet. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Burgundy
    • France
    A rich and complex wine which offers peach and citrus on the nose. The fruity character of the nose is joined  clotted cream and a hint of vanilla on... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Pomerol
    • Bordeaux
    • France
    A soft wine with attractive berry fruits, smoky acidity and sweet juicy flavours. The tannins are well integrated with acidity pushing through. The fi... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Pomerol
    • Bordeaux
    • France
    In colour, this is deep purple-red, the aromas being open, very ripe and freshly complex. The wines, which exhibit a luscious structure, are delicate ... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Saint-Émilion
    • Bordeaux
    • France
    Good fruit on the nose of this fresh and generous Saint Emilion. Rich damson and cherry with notes of cedar and tobacco. The tannins on the palate are... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Graves
    • Bordeaux
    • France
    Deep and rich with a pronounced nose of damson and blackcurrant. The palate shows expressive plum and blackberry notes as well a a lingering leatherin... Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    • Burgundy
    • Chablis
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    • Origin
    • Bordeaux
    • Left Bank
    • Haut Medoc
    A well expressed southern Medoc in a racy and elegant style. An understated, pretty, dark coloured wine that offers lots of cherry, raspberry and blac... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Bordeaux
    A complex nose of red berry fruits and heady oak aromas which lift the nose rather than dominate it. The palate is balanced and well-structured with a... Read More
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    Single 75cl bottle
    £13.25 £11.04
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    • Origin
    • France
    • Southern Rhone
    Chateauneuf rarely comes close to this quality at such a modest price. Vinified using some whole clusters and the process is done fully organic. Full ... Read More
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  1. As part of a MIX6 £43.14 What is MIX6?

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    • Origin
    • France
    A fresh and intense Burgundy with ripe cherry aromas which develop on the palate into liquorice and game notes. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    An elegant and mellow Pinot Noir with notes of ripe red summer berries and deeper aromas of bonfire smoke and forest floor.  Read More
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  2. As part of a MIX6 £29.94 What is MIX6?

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    • Origin
    • France
    This is a full and voluptuous wine packed full of richness. Herbs and spices show on the nose intermingled with ripe black raspberries. Textured on th... Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Lots of black fruit flavour here with black cherry most detectable. The fruit is supported by supple tannins that make for a medium bodied wine that i... Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    A well structured wine with firm tannins and a distinctive black fruit character. Drinking well now but will develop favourably over the next 5-10 yea... Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    A highly enjoyable red Burgundy with lots of supple red fruit aromas which lead to a delicate yet driven finish. Read More
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Grapes

France is famed for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc,Pinot Noir, Syrah and many other varieties of grape that still, arguably, achieve their ultimate expression here.  It is also home to Cognac and Armagnac, the finest of brandies, and the famous apple brandy of Calvados.

History

The Greeks brought viticulture to France's Mediterranean coast in about 600BC. During Roman occupation, the vine spread along two main routes: west to Garonne/ Bordeaux and north through the Rhone Valley. After the Roman Emprire collapsed the Church became the most important land owners and producers, especially in Burgundy, Loire Valley and Champagne. The political changes in the 18th Century didn't affect the wine trade per se, however changes to the religious oders had significant impacts on land ownership. Bordeaux saw a boom in wealth and growth as foreign trade blossomed, not least with the French West Indies. The 1855 classification system was introduced, bringing more uniform standards. 

The Classification System

The current Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system was introduced in 1930's and is founded on the principle that defined geographic location is responsible for the unique character and flavour of individual French wines. There are three levels to the AOC: Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC), Vin de Pays (VdP) and Vin de Table (VdT). The quality standards are highest in AOC wines, covering details including vine yield, minimum alcohol levels and of course grape varieties and apellation boundaries. Grand Cru and Premier Cru sit within AOC. This compares to VdT were neither grape variety, vintage ore region are required on the label.

Climate and Terroir

The diversity of France's climate relates to its plethora of styles and the main wine regions fall into three climatic zones. Bordeaux, Loire Valley and the Southwest are within the maritime climate, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The South of France and southern Rhone Valley are under a Mediterranean climate while northern Rhone, Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne fall into a continental influence. The climate, wine style and gastronomy are all tightly woven together and to unpick them require much more time and room on the page than is allowed!

If the region defines the style of the wine, terroir is responsible for all the fine tuning.  It's the crucial combination of environmental factors such as microclimate, soil type and topography. It's an underpinning principle in the classification system and endless source of debate.

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