Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why do you never suggest a French Wine? Because no one pours one for me; however, I will suggest a good basic French Table wine and great cooking wine.

French Wine

The Best Wine Region Since the Dark Ages

France. The most famous place in the world for wine. Why? In a word, history. French wines have their roots in the Roman Empire, whose legions and followers planted vineyards as they crossed the continent. And before the French, the Greeks. The religious orders in France took care to protect the French grape vines during the Dark Ages. The records they kept have helped the French continue to make wine perfected over centuries. France is still the leader for all the world's best known red and white wines, though different countries and regions around the world interpret them differently. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are just a few examples of wines that have spread across the world.

Why Knowing French Wine Law is Key to Finding Good French Wine

In France, there are four legal "ranks" or ratings of French wine, which serves as a good indicator of how relatively cheap or expensive the wine is. The rank usually appears on the label, and indicates (from highest to lowest) the general status of the wine. "Appellation Contrôlée" (AOC or AC) ratings are the highest grade. "Vins Délimités de Qualité Supérieure (VDQA) ratings translate to "demarcated wine of superior quality." "Vins de Pays" ratings essentially mean "country wines", and is usually followed on the label with the name of the area the grapes are from. And lastly, "Vins de Table," French table wines that have no region, vintage or grape variety indicated on the label.

Where the Name of the Wine is Where it's From

Whether red or white, most French wines are named after the regions they originate from. This works primarily because each region specializes in the production of different types of wines and flavors. The major wine areas in France include: Burgundy (Pinot Noir, Gamay and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot) the Loire Valley and Alsace (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris), the Rhone Valley (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat), and Champagne (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay).

A recent Wine Pocket  List search showed that - in general - the wines with higher ratings tended also to be those with higher prices. But, we found that more than one A- wine (white and red) was represented in the "bargain" category of under $10. And while not many of these highly rated wines are widely available (over 20,000 cases imported), when you do find them they are worth the effort.

L'Epayrie Red Table Wine
L'Epayrie. I don't know if it's the least expensive, but it's definitely one of the least expensive French wines

Pronounced "L'Perrier" - but if I were you, I'd write it on a piece of paper and show it to the clerk because no one here knows how to pronounce it.

A friend told me about it (she's been using this brand for years). I am a good cook, but the flavor of my cooking was vastly improved when I began using this brand. They also make a white wine which I use just as frequently.

You certainly can drink it, but the flavor when used in cooking is quite different from the flavor as a beverage.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice article on French wine. Bordeaux is my favourite wine :)

    Rocket French