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France

France, more than any other country, has shaped the wines that we drink today. From easy-drinking, everyday wines through to the greatest vintages of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhône, France has set the benchmark that the rest of the world aspires to.

France, more than any other country, has shaped the wines that we drink today. From easy-drinking, everyday wines through to the greatest vintages of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhône, France has set the benchmark that the rest of the world aspires to.

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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

It was the Ancient Greeks who brought the vine to France and the Romans who spread it to all of the recognised wine-producing areas of today.  After the demise of the Roman Empire it was the Church who maintained the traditions of winemaking and went on to enhance them in their monasteries.  Throughout the Middle Ages, France was a collection of largely independent states and this lack of central authority allowed for the emergence of the regional variations and styles that remain so cherished and familiar today.

The Classification System

If the history of French wine is complex, the French have attempted to match it with their system of classification.  Of the four different categories, the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and Vin de Pays (VdP) account for the bulk of production.  Vin de Table and the almost obsolete Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure make up the rest.

Climate and Terroir

France achieves a multitude of styles of wine on the back of its enormously varied climate.  To generalise, the cooler north is ideal for white wines and the blistering south is known for its range of reds.  More central areas, such as Bordeaux and Burgundy, are celebrated for both.  Few countries can match this diversity, and where they do share a climatic similarity they will often imitate a French style of wine.

If the region defines the style of the wine, then terroir is responsible for all the fine tuning.  It is the crucial, often revered combination of environmental factors such as microclimate, soil type and topography.  Considered magical to some and mythical to others, it is an underpinning factor in the classifications is an 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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    £20.95
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    £21.44
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    £17.46
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    £17.87
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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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    £20.38
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    £21.95
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    £16.98
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    £18.29
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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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    £44.40
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    £44.95
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    £37.00
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    £37.46
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  4. 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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    £35.59
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    £39.95
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    £29.66
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    £33.29
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  5. 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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    £50.26
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    £55.94
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    £41.88
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    £46.62
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  6. 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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    £30.07
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    £33.95
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    £25.06
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    £28.29
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  7. 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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    £30.07
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    £33.95
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    £25.06
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    £28.29
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  8. 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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    £40.84
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    £41.95
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    £34.03
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    £34.96
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  9. 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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    £54.07
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    £61.94
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    £45.06
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    £51.62
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  10. 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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    £47.94
    £39.95
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  11. 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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    £50.34
    £41.95
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  12. Taittinger Brut

    Thienot, Brut 75cl

    A stunning Champagne with a rich aromas of citrus and creamy honey. Lively and balanced on the palate with length and depth on the finish.

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    £31.75
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    £35.65
    each
    £26.46
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    £29.71
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