Cards of Wine

French Wine Regions

France has thousand years of wine production history, and some of the most famous wine producing regions in the world.

  • Bordeaux
  • Bourgogne
  • Champagne
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Loire

Bordeaux Wine Region

Bordeaux in Southwest France is the most famous wine region in the world.

France

The river Gironde splits the area in the famous Left Bank (Southwest) and the Right Bank (Northeast) where the two famous, but very different, Bordeaux Blends are produced.

On the Left Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary grape.

On the Right Bank, Merlot is the primary grape.

Bordeaux is dominated by red wine. Nearly 90% of all Bordeaux wine is red.

The most planted grape is Merlot, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red Grapes

66% Merlot
23% Cabernet Sauvignon
10% Cabernet Franc
  2% Malbec
  1% Petit Verdot

White Grapes

47% Sémillon
45% Sauvignon Blanc
  5% Muscadelle


Bordeaux Left Bank

On the Left Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary grape.

A typical top-quality "Bordeaux Blend" consists of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Merlot.

Left Bank wines are often spicy with bold tannins and are good candidates for aging.

The terroir is rocky, with gravel (stones) and some limestone.

In the wine world, this bad soil means good wine because the more the roots have to struggle, the better the quality. Rocky soils and hillsides give a good drainage (too much water gives a watery berry).

Famous appellations are:

  • Haut-Médoc
  • Margaux (Château Margaux)
  • St.Estephe
  • St.Julien
  • Pauillac (Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Latour)
  • Pessac Leognan (Château Haut-Brion)
Few chateaux with many hectars (50-80ha average).

Flavors:

Young: Spices. Earth. Tobacco.

Aged: Leather. Smoke. Truffle. Herbs. Cigar box.

Bordeaux Right Bank

On the Right Bank, Merlot is the primary grape.

A typical Right Bank blend consists of 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Right Bank wines are also bold, but smoother, with softer tannins and typical Merlot fruity flavors. They can age, but are more "drink me soon" style.

The terroir on the right bank is less difficult, with less gravel and more clay and limestone.

Famous appellations are:

  • St. Emilion (Cheval Blanc)
  • Pomerol (Petrus)
Many small chateaux with few hectars (30 average).

Flavors:

Young: Black Cherry. Red Plum. Flowers. Chocolate. Licorice.

Aged: Earth. Truffle. Dark Chocolate. Tobacco.

White Bordeaux

White Bordeaux uses Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion as primary grapes.

Bourgogne (Burgundy)

Bourgogne has 5 wine-producing regions: Chablis Grand Auxerrois, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Châtillonnais.

Burgundy

Primary Grapes:

60% Pinot Noir
35% Chardonnay

The vineyards of Bourgogne stretch over 230 km from North to South.

The presence of two great rivers: Yonne in the North and Saône in the East and a temperate semi-continental climate, make it the perfect place to cultivate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

Côtes du Rhône

Côtes du Rhône is an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) wine region in the Rhône Valley of France. There are two main regions:

France

Côtes du Rhône North

In the North, the main grape is Syrah.

The grapes grows on very steep slopes, and are manually picked in hillside trolleys, wich adds to the price.

Côtes du Rhône South

In the South, the main grape is Grenache.

The area is famous for its GSM wines: A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre.

Loire Wine Region

Alsace Wine Region

Alsace is dominated by white wine. 90% of all Alsace wine is white.

Wines from the Alsace region in France (in French: Vin d'Alsace) (German: Weinbau in Elsass) (English: Alsatian Wine) are primarily white wines.

Alsace in France and the Rhine region in Germany are known to produce the best Rieslings in the world, and Alsace is also famous for a especially food friendly Pinot Gris, and a highly aromatic Gewürztraminer.

In Alsace, both dry and sweet white wines are produced.

Riesling d'Alsace

In Alsace, some grapes thrive better than others, and just like in Germany (on the other side of the border), the king is Riesling.

Typical Alsatian Rieslings are dry, aromatic, a little fuller, and with more ripe fruit than the German ones.

Gewürztraminer d'Alsace

Gewürztraminer is a grape many people love. It is also a grape many people hate.

Bad Gewürztraminer can taste like bad perfume, but the good ones have fantastic aromas that no other grapes can copy: Grapefruit, Pineapple, Mango, Apricot, Lychee, Rose Petals, and Spices.

Pinot Gris d'Alsace

Italian Pinot Grigio and Alsatian Pinot Gris is the same grape, but Alsatian wines are more fruity, with more aromas, and more sweetness.

Alsatian Pinot Gris has a balanced intensity that pairs well with many types of food. It matches spicy food (Mexican, Thai), sweet and sour food (Chinese), and fat food(Foie Gras. Pâté), and often it can accompany dishes meant for red wine.

Tokay d'Alsace

According to the history, the grape Pinot Gris travelled from Alsace to Hungary in the 14th century. When it was brought back to Alsace in the 16th century, it was planted in Kientzheim under the name "Tokay" (taken from Hungary’s famous wine Tokaji).

For many centuries, Alsatian wine produced from Pinot Gris was called "Tokay d'Alsace".

However, in the 1990's, it was agreed in Europe to remove the name Tokay from non-Hungarian wine, and slowly, the today so famous Alsacian Pinot Gris was developed.

Silvaner d'Alsace

Silvaner (or Sylvaner) is a grape grown primarily in French Alsace and in the Franken region of Germany.

In Germany it is cultivated with the official name Grüner Silvaner. Italian and Swiss Silvaner tends to be lighter and more crispy than French / German Silvaner.

Pinot Blanc d’Alsace

Pinot Blanc from Alsace, is known to be much like Chardonnay as a full body wine with good acidity.

Alsacian Pinot Blanc can show a range of flavors from apple to peach, along with nutty almond and spices depending on oak treatment.

Popular food pairings in Alsace are Omelet and Quiche.

Crémant d’Alsace

Crémant d 'Alsace is a sparkling wine made by the Champagne method (Méthode Champenoise)). Made from several types of grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling), it can be an interesting alternative to French Champagne.

Alsace AOC

Alsatian wines are produced under three different AOCs:

  • Alsace AOC - White, Rosé, and Red wines
  • Alsace Grand Cru AOC - White wines from classified vineyards
  • Crémant d'Alsace AOC - Sparkling wines

Edelzwicker and Gentil

Edelzwicker and Gentil may be used on an Alsatian wine label.

Edelzwicker means that the wine is a mixture of different grapes.

Gentil means the same, but can only be used for AOC wines where the blend has at least 50% Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer, and the rest can be either Sylvaner, Chasselas or Pinot Blanc. Each variety must be vinified separately, and each variety must qualify as an AOC Alsace wine alone.

Vendange Tardive

Vendange Tardive on the label, means that the grapes are harvested late. These wines are sweet like German Ausleese. Only noble root attacked grapes can be used (Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer), and Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris provide the sweetest varieties.

Sélection de Grains Nobles

Sélection de grains nobles means selected grapes that are attacked by noble rot, like German Beerenauslese.

Route des Vins d'Alsace

In the 1950's the Alsace Wine Route was opened.

Starting as a popular touring rally, it is now the jewel of Alsace.

Route des Vins d'Alsace winds 170 km from the north to the south of Alsace, passing through 70 wine-growing villages, some renowned for being some of the most beautiful villages in the world. like Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, Ribeauvillé, Riquewihr, Andlau, and Obernai.

Route des Vins

The Alsace Wine Route villages organise wine and harvest festivals from April to October, including wine-tastings, folklore, processions, and other entertainment.

2008 Production

GrapeHectar (approx)
Riesling3400
Gewürztraminer2900
Pinot Gris2400
Auxerrois2200
Pinot Noir1500
Sylvaner1400
Pinot Blanc1100
Muscat350
Chardonnay90
Chasselas90
Other70
Total15500

Provence

Red Wines:

Palette

Rosé Wines:

Bandol
Provence Rosé

Savoie Wine Region

Savoie is a wine region in the French alps, south of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman).

Altesse (aka Roussette) produces the finest white wines in Savoie, while Jacquère is the most planted grape. These are the appellations in Savoie:

  • Vin de Savoie AOP
    White, red, rosé, and sparkling wines (mostly white), made from grape varieties Jacquère (50%), Altesse, Chasselas, Verdesse, Chardonnay, and Roussanne.
  • Rousette de Savoie AOP
    White wines made from Altesse grapes.
  • Seysell AOP
    Dry white and sparkling wines.
  • Crémant de Savoie AOP
    Sparkling wines made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise.

Languedoc-Roussuilon

Champagne

Champagne is the region of the most famous sparkling wine in the world.

Listed Wines:

Champagne
Blanc de Blancs
Blanc de Noir

Primary Grapes:

Chardonnay
40% Pinot Noir
30% Chardonnay
20% Meunier

French Varieties 2017


Merlot
112 000 hectares
Ugni Blanc
82 000
Grenache
81 000
Syrah
64 000
Chardonnay
51 000
Cabernet Sauvignon
48 000
Cabernet Franc
33 000
Carignan
33 000
Pinot Noir
32 000
Sauvignon Blanc
30 000

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