Learning to Love French Wines!

Learning to Love French Wines!

“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” – John Keats
We’ve talked over the past few months about Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonnays and many other varietal types of wine. The good majority of my blogs have focused on California wineries and vineyards. Today – I’d like to expand your knowledge or wines and wine labeling by discussing French wines.
You may wonder what makes wines from France that much different than those from California or Oregon or even New York state. Many parts of the US, Chile, Span and other countries produce exceptional wines. Besides the legend of French wines, you will notice a difference in the labeling.
French wines are labeled by the production region. Some of the most noteworthy are Champagne, The Rhône and Bordeaux. Two-thirds of the wines produced in France are reds.
France has a set of complex wine laws designed to protect the integrity of the industry. In 1935 the INAO was created to set up a system of ratings and controls. These are known as the AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée).
PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: AOC translates into controlled designation of origin. AOC is used to regulate production and sales of wine, cheeses, butters and other agricultural products in France.
AOC labeling is complex, so today I’ll give you the highlights contained on each label –

  • The Area of Production (for example Haut-Médoc in Bordeux),
  • Grape variety (each area has a limit on the types of grapes grown) and
  • The Name of the Winery.

What is important to remember is that you need to read the labels carefully in order to determine the grape varietals included in each bottle. Wine stores stock these wines by the country and whether a bottle is a white or red. In some cases varietal type is included such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
During the next 3 months, I’ll write blogs that feature reasonably priced wines from each of the major wine producing regions of France. I will also further explore the complex wine labeling system to help you identify French wines that you may want to try. My goal is to target bottles that cost less than $25 and with excellent quality. While many of the best French wines are considerably more expensive, my goal is to keep things Positively affordable!

Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!

Drink Responsibly!