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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. 

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... 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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  1. Alain des Arbres, Carte Noire

    Alain des Arbres, Carte Noire 75cl

    Exclusive to Weavers of Nottingham Creamy mousse with rich, delicate fruit flavours. A delightful champagne which has fullness and depth.

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    £21.13
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    £21.60
    each
    £17.61
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    £18.00
    each Excl. VAT
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  2. Baron de Beaupre, Brut

    Baron de Beaupre, Brut 75cl

    A refreshing and appealing champagne with soft character on the finish.

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    £20.76
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    £22.94
    each
    £17.30
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    £19.12
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  3. Bollinger, Special Cuvée

    Bollinger, Special Cuvée 75cl

    Superbly balanced and tremendously elegant champagne with a fine depth and flavour.

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    £44.58
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    £45.14
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    £37.15
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    £37.62
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  4. Gosset Brut, Grand Blanc de Blanc

    Gosset Brut, Grand Blanc de Blanc 75cl

    Pale gold in colour with green darts and fine bubbles. Wet flint, white fruit and apricot on the nose leads to a fine, delicate palate. A wonderfully complex wine made solely from Chardonnay grapes. An ideal, luxiourious aperitif drink. Matches perfectly with scallops or crab.

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    £57.48
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    £62.10
    each
    £47.90
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £51.75
    each Excl. VAT
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  5. Gosset, Brut Excellence

    Gosset, Brut Excellence 75cl

    A champagne with a fine mousse, surprisingly rich aroma, beautifully complex and really elegant, combining freshness and an exquisite, fruity style.

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    £35.77
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    £40.15
    each
    £29.81
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £33.46
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  6. Gosset, Grande Reserve

    Gosset, Grande Reserve 75cl

    Outstandingly well balanced Champagne. A golden hue with a subtle bouquet that is delicate but full with strength and freshness on the palate - utterly delicious.

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    £50.40
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    £55.98
    each
    £42.00
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    £46.65
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  7. Joseph Perrier, Cuvée Royale Brut

    Joseph Perrier, Cuvée Royale Brut 75cl

    This is a lovely fruity champagne with superb freshness which is balanced, elegant and has a wonderfully vibrant finish.

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    £30.60
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    £35.00
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    £25.50
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £29.17
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  8. Joseph Perrier, Cuvée Royale Demi-Sec

    Joseph Perrier, Cuvée Royale Demi-Sec 75cl

    A classic medium dry champagne, displaying rich citrus fruit characters on the nose and a lingering finish on the palate.

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    £30.60
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    £35.00
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    £25.50
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    £29.17
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  9. Pol Roger, Brut Reserve

    Pol Roger, Brut Reserve 75cl

    This superb quality champagne is ideal for every occasion. It has a certain feminine quality given by equal proportions of Pinot Noir / Meunier and Chardonnay.

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    £41.02
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    £42.00
    each
    £34.18
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    £35.00
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  10. Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs

    Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs 75cl

    A suave, delicate, well-balanced Champagne made exclusively from the Chardonnay Grape. Striking on the palate with delicious hints of apricots and nectarines.

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    £57.66
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    £63.14
    each
    £48.05
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    £52.62
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  11. Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV Special Edition 'City Light Boxed'

    Taittinger Nocturne Sec, Special Edition City Light 75cl

    Pale yellow in colour with delicate fine bubbles. The nose is subtle, fresh and reminiscent of white blossom and ripe fruit, with overtones of yellow peaches and dried apricots. On the palate it is soft, fresh and mellow with delicate floral and ripe fruit flavours. The finish is long and soft with a subtle sweetness. All in all it is rounded, rich and well balanced, smooth and creamy.

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    £39.95
    £33.29
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  12. Taittinger Prélude Grand Crus Boxed

    Taittinger, Prélude Grand Crus 75cl

    The colour is a brilliant, pale yellow with silvery highlights. The bubbles are fine and form a lasting and delicate mousse. The initial mineral aromas quickly develop into green, floral scents with hints of elderflower and spicy cinnamon overtones. Flavours are dominated by intense fresh citrus fruit which then give way to a much fuller, well-bodied and mellow taste with flavours reminiscent of white peaches in syrup.

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    £45.00
    £37.50
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