Take a Tour of France with Glengarry

When you lift the lid on French wine, it is not all as complex as it seems

With a few key pieces of information, we’ll have you an expert (or seemingly so) in no time at all.

Bordeaux located in France’s south-west has for many years been the centre of the world’s fine wine trade, a historic region producing exceptionally long-lived wines. The five key red varieties of Bordeaux red wines are cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot and malbec. White wines focus on sauvignon and semillon.

The romantic region of Burgundy starts with Chablis in the north and finishes with Beaujolais in the south. Wines from Chablis are made from 100% chardonnay, from the heart of Burgundy whites are also from chardonnay, whilst reds are made from pinot noir. Right in the south, the grape variety of Beaujolais is gamay.

The region of Alsace makes it a little easier to understand by putting the variety on the label. The five noble varieties grown here are pinot gris, riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot blanc and muscat.

Distinctly broken into two sections, the Northern and Southern Rhone, and stretching itself over 800km from just south of Lyon to Avignon in the south. The Northern Rhone is home to the great syrah of France, rich and superbly textured. The white superstar of the north is viognier grown in and around the village of Condrieu. The Southern Rhone is home to grenache and the great blended wines of the Rhone.

Loire Valley
There are numerous wines produced in the Loire. We choose to focus on the areas of Sancerre, Pouilly Fume and Vouvray. Sancerre is produced around the town by the same name and are made from sauvignon blanc, pouilly fume (not to be confused with pouilly fuisse from Burgundy) are also made from sauvignon, the term fume not referring to a smoked flavour in the wine but rather to the mist that rolls into the region. The wines of Vouvray are grown on top of the steep chalk slopes alongside the Loire River. Vouvray’s are made from chenin blanc and in a wide array of styles from dry to very sweet.

The South
Lumped together, it is a big generalisation and a big area to cover. The south coast of France produces the most diverse collection of styles in France. Starting to the west, close to the Spanish boarder, there are rich and robust reds like the wines of Madiran and Banylus, moving to the east and across the sun-drenched beaches of the Mediterranean all the delights of Cotes de Provence rose hit you.

To put your new-found knowledge to the test, check out our French mixed cases, complete with local recipes to match. And whilst at it, don’t go past our two competitions this month. Firstly, Win a French Dinner Party at yours. Simply jump online, enter your email address and that’s all you need to do. And while you're at it, there’s also beautiful Le Creuset cookware up for grabs. All you need to do is cook one of our recipes from the French promotion, post it via your social media, tag us and you are in the draw. (LIZ WHEADON)


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Published: May 2024