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Within France, the Loire Valley region produces the greatest diversity of wine styles. The array of wines made reflects the different sub-regions that share little in common due to the region's sweeping expanse. It's an exciting mesh of sparkling, dry, sweet, rose and reds styles.
Known as the 'Garden of France' the Loire Valley is a prolific food bowl producing delectable treats across cheese, cherries, apples, butter and vegetables. Covering 1000km from east to west, this picturesque region is a feast for both your eyes and tastebuds.
White: Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet), Sauvignon Blanc
Red: Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Grolleau
The Muscadets of the Nantais are influenced by the maritime climate. These wines are subtly textured, freshly fruited and best drunk young with some oysters. Anjou is where Chenin Blanc shines in various styles - sparkling, dry and sweet. Touraine is home to the tuffeau soils which Chenin blanc loves in Vouvray, and we see some red wines here too. Lastly, in the Central Vineyards where the soils are similar to Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc is the cross-bearer producing some exhilarating wines in Sancerre and Pouilly Fume.
Pepiere, Baumard, Pierre Bise, Roches Neuves, Huet, Francois Chidaine, Didier Dageneau, Vacheron, Gerard Boulay,
AlsaceNestled behind the Vosges Mountains the Alsace region is one of France's driest and a lovely hotbed for organic and biodynamic viticulture on volcanic soils. History has seen it change hands between Germany and France many times which shows up in the strong Germanic influence in food, architecture and grapes.
Red or White? White wines reign supreme here. Usually dry and savoury, though some can be made in an off-dry style. This is a clear cut region to understand as they usually put the grape variety on the label. There are also two sweeter styles; late picked, vendange tardive and the botrytis infected dessert wine, selections de grains nobles.
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewuztraminer
There's a lovely minerality thread in these wines due to their volcanic soil origins. Smokey wafts and exotic fruits are on full display in youth. Over time they develop a honeyed richness. Some wines may have a richer mid-palate and can be off-dry in style.
Marcel Deiss, Zind-Humbrecht, Domaine Ostertag, Paul Blank
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French Drinking Dozen - Winter 2022
France is an incredibly diverse country and one that offers a plethora of great drinking at all levels. From its balmy southern shores, warm and verdant interior to the cool limits of its northern hills there is truly something for everyone.
This mixed dozen offers up a selection of some of our favourite producers, regions and varieties as well as up-and-coming winemakers and dark horses you may not heard of. We have tried to include a little snap-shot of the state of play from this wonderful vinous country.
Each month this will be updated as we see great new wines, vintages rolls and the latest and greatest to hit our shores. At 15%-20% off or more, this a great way to explore France offering exceptional value and delicious drinking.
Don't forget to check back often to see the latest version of the French Drinking Dozen.$265.00 Regular Price $330.00