Champagne / Bordeaux / Burgundy / Rhone / Regional France
France is synonymous with wine and is home to many of the grapes we know and love from around the world. It is the world’s top exporter of wine and has over 750,000 hectares of vineyards and around 200 varieties of grapes. Steeped in tradition it has long been the place to go for budding winemakers to learn their trade.
French Appellations (regions) have strict rules which define what can be grown and produced thus controlling quality and output putting French wine at the top of everyone's shopping list. More than the variety of grape, French wine is about its regions and the terroir. This term describes the soil conditions, climate and altitude – all fundamental factors in the ultimate bouquet and taste of the wine. Read on below how the different regions produce vastly different, but equally amazing wines.
--- Meet our French Winemakers
Producer: Louis Barthelemy Winemaker: Jean-Barthélémy Region: Champagne Country: France
The house has very distinct and elegant wine style, characterised by a small dosage but a long ageing process on lees of at least 3 years - more than double the minimum requirement of 15 months. The House benefits from rich and diversified grape buying contracts in a large number of Champagne crus, with Jean-Barthélémy overseeing a highly selective, rigorous selection of grapes to make up each cuvée.
Producer: Droin Winemaker: Jean-Paul and Benoît Droin Region: Chablis Country: France
The Droin brothers are the 14th generation of their family to make wine, with a history in Chablis reaching back exactly 400 years, so it’s reasonable to assume they know their business. And with vineyard holdings in almost every Grand Cru and Premier Cru, and significant parcels across Chablis and Petit Chablis they transcend the region like no other producer.
“People often cite Domaines Raveneau and Vincent Dauvissat as the two greatest exponents of Chablis, however, I would like to add a third – Domaine Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin. Over the last five or six years, Benoît Droin has really ratcheted up the quality. I cannot exaggerate how often Droin’s wines end up the best of the flight during the annual “Burgfest” blind tastings. Again and again, they shine against stiff competition. It is time to accept that Droin is now one of the leading producers in Chablis.” Neal Martin, August 2018
Day 3 began with a few sore heads from the night before, luckily the beds in the Dr Loosen guest house are extremely comfortable and a freshly cooked breakfast went down a treat. Next stop Jean Stodden Winery and Donnhoff.
I was fortunate enough to be invited on the recent Masters of Riesling trip by renowned German importer 'ABS Agencies' this past June. This trip involved visiting some of the most prestigious German wineries across the country over four wine filled days, sounds fun right.
The 2021 Bordeaux vintage is being hailed as the 'Miracle Vintage' by some winemakers: between late frosts and a cool, damp summer, it was a difficult vintage, and grape yields were significantly reduced compared to recent years.