As the Roman Empire expanded into northern countries, the knowledge of winemaking was fostered by the conquering legions. Today’s France, formerly known as Gaul and inhabited by Celts (wine and mead drinkers) became a wine country after the Roman occupation.
So successful was winemaking that Emperor Domitian ordered half the vines of Gaul to be uprooted, lest they be too competitive with Rome’s production.
Later, the Emperor Probus returned full right to plant and cultivate the vine to the Gauls, thus giving new impetus to France’s viticultural traditions.
Since 1935 the great wines of France have been controlled by a code of law known as “code de legislation des Appellations d’Origine Controlee.” This code has been completed by various other laws controlling the “Vin Delimtes de Qualite Superieure” and the “Vins de Pays” and more recently, the Vins de Table.
THE WINE LAWS
The old EEC regulations recognized two categories of wine: “vin de table” and VQPRD (Vins de Qualite’ Produits dans une Region Determinee). In France each of these two categories is itself divided into two sections. Therefore, there are four categories of French wines. The Wine Cellar indicates “`Vin de Table – Wines with this designation are listed as being from France and provide the producers name on the label. Vin de Table, or Table wine are made from any vineyard or grape varietal in France. Wine sold as Vin de Table do not by law, list grape varietals, vintage, regions, appellations or production techniques on the label. There are no restrictions on the grapes, vineyard management or production techniques used to produce Vin de Table wine.
Vins Sans Indication Geographique – VSIG is the new classification for Vin de Table wines. VISG wines are allowed to use the name of the country. but not the specific grape variety, year, appellation or region on the label of Vins Sans Indication Geographique classified wines
Vin de Pays – VDP – Wines using the Vin de Pays designation were produced from a specific, major, wine growing region, they also state the producers name and France. Vin de Pays allows more information to be placed on the label including the area the wine was produced in. There are very few restrictions in the production of wines sold as Vin de Pays.
Vin Delimité de Qualite Superieure – VDQS is seldom encountered today. Less than 1% of all French wines bear the VDQS designation on the label. Vin Delimité de Qualite Superieure is similar, but less restrictive in its rules and regulations for the grape varieties, terroir and production techniques than the more commonly seen AOC classification. VDQS wines are seen as being produced from a recognized area that has not yet been approved as an appellation by the AOC.
Appellation d’Origine Controlee – AOC, accounts for 53.4% of all wines from France. Currently, more than 450 separate and potentially distinct AOC’s in France are in use today. There are a series of rules and regulations that go along with being classified as an AOC wine. This includes restrictions as to the specific geological area where the fruit is grown and the wine was made; along with the type of allowable grape variety planted in the vineyard. There are also specific, agreed upon production methods, minimum levels of alcohol and maximum levels of yields, vine age and required minimum vineyard planting densities. There are also rules for harvesting and vinification techniques in place along with restrictions on where the cellars must be located. In some cases, exemptions are granted in the case of cellar locations and on occasion some of the other rules. However, it is important to note that every quality grower produces wine from lower yields and higher levels of alcohol than is the minimum standard allowed by AOC law. In fact, most of the standards required for the Appellation d’Origine Controlee classification are surpassed by every serious wine producer.
Beyond the classification of the appellations and vineyards, depending on the specific appellation or AOC, vineyards and chateaux can also be classified. The most famous of these classifications is the 1855 Classification of the Medoc that we discussed earlier. Burgundy has its own vineyard classification system as does St. Emilion.
While Bordeaux is the most heavily classified, wine producing region in France, it is not the only appellation to classify their wines. Burgundy is the second most, wine producing, classified region in France. Fortunately for Burgundy wine lovers, the classification is reasonably simple to understand. The main ideal that differentiates the classifications of Burgundy from that of Bordeaux is that in Bordeaux, with the exception of St. Emilion, it is the chateau or producer that is classified. In Burgundy they classify the terroir.
Grand Cru is the top classified status in Burgundy. Not many vineyards are eligible for Grand Cru status. To give you an idea, about 2% of the Burgundy regions vineyards are classified as Grand Cru. On the label, only the vineyard and classified status is listed. Grand Cru wines are produced from the lowest yields of all classified Burgundy wines.
Premier Cru is the next highest level of classified status for Burgundy wines. Close to 12% of all Burgundy vineyards are classified with Premier Cru status. Premier Cru classified wines provide the name of the village first, and then the vineyard on the label. If the wine is produced from multiple vineyards from the same village, only the vineyard name will appear on the label.
Village wines, the next level of classification in Burgundy list the appellation when they are produced from multiple villages. This is quite common as many of these wines are produced from a myriad of villages and vineyards. For wines produced from one village and vineyard, that information is placed clearly on the label.
Regional wines are the lowest level of classification in the Burgundy system. The wines are not produced under the same rules and conditions as the higher levels of classified Burgundy wines.
Chablis, even though the appellation is located in Burgundy has its own unique system of classification or its wines. Generally speaking, the Chablis classification is quite close to what is established in Burgundy. However there are a few differences. Chablis has 4 levels of classified status: Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village Chablis and Petit Chablis.
Beaujolais has their own system of classification, even though they are also in Burgundy. The wines of Beaujolais have the following different levels of classification: Beaujolais AOC/AOP, Beaujolais Villages and Beaujolais Cru.
Champagne has its own, unique system of classification. Interestingly, the classification of Champagne takes the level of quality of the grapes into consideration, along with the terroir and soil. In Champagne the best wines are classified as Grand Cru Champagne, followed by Premier Cru Champagne.
Alsace wines are classified as well. The wines of Alsace have two levels of classification, Grand Cru and Alsace AOC/AOP.
It’s not just the French that like to classify things. Most, if not all of Europe enjoy classifications. It took long enough, but a new system for the classification of wines from France was created in 2012 to replace the previous, antiquated, classification. The 2012 classification system is much more simple. It relies on three levels of basic classification instead of four. Plus more information is available to the consumer on the new labels attached to wine bottles as allowable by law. However, it should be noted that due to competition on the marketplace, the recent 2012 classification has been ammended as you will see below.
The new categories are of classification in France are:
Vin de France – This new classification, which replaces Vin de Table, allows the consumer to know much more information about the wine. Wines with the Vin de France designation sport wine labels that include the type of grape variety used to produce the wine and the specific vintage. However, other than the country of France, no information is allowed as to where the grapes are from. It’s important that some Vin de France can be quite good, and also expensive. That is because some wines are forced to use the Vin de France classification because they violated appellation law. As an example, they included grapes not allowed in the region, or the vineyard management techniques did not conform to AOC regulations.
Indication Geographique Protegee – IGP will be used instead of Vin de Pays. IGP wines offer growers and producers a myriad of choices as there are no restrictions on grape varieties. Estates are also allowed to blend grapes or wine from multiple appellations.
Appellation d’Origine Protegee – AOP is intended to replace the previously important AOC classification, Appellation d’Origine Controlee. Not much else has changed in this classification, other than the name.
Organic and Biodynamic wines are now certified. To be a producer with the ability to place the words organic on your label, for a minimum of a three year period, the wine maker must use oonly organic farming techniques. Certification be granted from any of the following agencies which are regulated by the French Minsitry of Agriculture: Ecocert, Qualite France, ULSAE, Agrocert, Certipaq and ACLAVE. Estates with the right to place the word Organic on their label have two possibilities. Once they are certified as Agriculture Biologique, they can use a logo from either the EU or the official Organic label.
Biodynamic Certification is granted to estates that for a minimum of a three period farm their vineyards utilizing the techniques created by Rudolf Steiner. The same bodies that certify organic producers also certify Biodynamic estates: Ecocert, Qualite France, ULSAE, Agrocert, Certipaq and ACLAVE. An additional or different certification is available, Demeter. Demeter certification is given to estates making wine from biodynamically certified fruit that was produced under the rule and regulations of the Demeter group.
Producers with SIVCBD; Biodyvin on their label are members of The Syndicat International des Vignerons en Culture Bio-Dynamique association.”
The vineyards in the northernmost area of France were originally planted by the Roman legion in their expansion into northern territories. Alsace soon became an important wine-producing region.
The are planted on the lower slopes of the Vosges mountains facing the Rhine.
The wines of Alsace are sold under the names of the grape varieties from which they are made: Chasselas, Sylvaner, Riesling (the most notable), Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (Tokay d’Alsace), Muscat d’Alsace and Pinot Noir (Rose’ d’Alsace). The name of the parish where the grapes are grown (Barr, Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Ammerchwihr, Kayserberg, Mittelwirh and Ribeauville) may be added.
A sparkling wine produced here — whether red, white or rose’– is sold under the designation “Cremant d’Alsace.
The Bordeaux vineyards lie in the southwest of France within the department of Gironde.
The vine has been prospering here for a long time. Thanks to the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine with the King of England, Henry II Plantagenet, to whom she brought Aquitaine as her dowry, the wines of Bordeaux were exported very early (1152) to England.
The region of Bordeaux is arguably the largest “vineyard of fine wines” in the world. The following, renowned growing areas account for its world acclaim.
MEDOC and GRAVES – A narrow strip of land which lies along more than 60 miles of the left bank of the Gironde estuary and the Garonne comprises the Medoc and Graves.
It is where the following appellations are to be found: Medoc, Haut-Medoc, Saint Estephe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Moulis, Listrac, Margaux and Graves which are produced with Cabernet and Merlot.
In 1855 at the request of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce the wines of Medoc were classified and this classification officially remains, with the exception of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, which was classified 2nd growth in 1855 but has since been promoted to 1st growth in 1973.
There are now five first growths: Chateau, Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Latour, Chateaux Margaux, Chateau Mouton-rothschild and Chateau Haut-Brion (Graves).
There are also fourteen second growths, fourteen third, ten fourth and eighteen fifth growths.
SAINT EMILION – The grape varieties grown in Saint Emilion are Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec, with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Bouchet.
The wines were classified officially in 1954 and again in 1969; they count two 1st growths “A” Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc, ten 1st growths “B” and 72 classified growths.
POMEROL – An important wine district in Bordeaux, located next door to Saint Emilion. Pomerol produces only powerful red wines, dark in color.
BORDEAUX and COTES de BORDEAUX -This appellation represents the largest production in the Gironde area. Red and white wines are marketed under the appellations Bordeaux or Bordeaux Superieur. If made with grapes from the right bank of the Garonne the appellation Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, or the Cotes de Bourg and Premieres Cotes de Blaye (just opposite the Medoc), Cotes de Castillon (just east of Saint-Emilion), and the Graves de Vayre (southwest of Libourne).
GRAVES, ENTRE-DEUX-MERS, COTES DE BLAYE – White Graves is crisp and has an elegant bouquet. Entre-Deux-Mers between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers produces a delightfully dry white as does the region of the Cotes de Blaye.
SAUTERNES – BARSAC – Sauternes produces some of the most prized sweet wines in the world. The neighboring appellations Cerons, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Loupiac, Cadillac and Premiers Cotes de Bordeaux also produce sweet wines. These wines are pleasant, but do not have the honey-like intensity of Sauternes and, to a lesser extent, Barsac.
Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle grapes are responsible for these wines They grow in clayish, gravelly soils. Their special feature is that they are attacked in certain vineyards by a fungus called “Botrytis Cinerea”, better known as “noble rot.”
The fungus penetrates the skins of the grapes, and feeds on the juice within each berry. While it does not affect the flavor of the grapes, it causes a rapid evaporation of the water. The result is greater concentration of sugar.
The wine of Sauternes-Barsac is a sweet white, amber in color when young and old gold when it has aged. It has an amazing bouquet of honey and wild flowers.
Burgundy was first a kingdom, then a duchy and, finally, a province of France.
Historians tell us that the grape-growing in this area started with the Phoenicians, from the ancient kingdom of Mediterranean sailors and traders. Afterwards, the Romans contributed to the culture of the vine with even greater enthusiasm.
In contrast to many vineyards in Bordeaux, which tend to be single-owned estates, those of Burgundy often are shared by different owners.
Principal grapes grown in Burgundy are the noble Chardonnay and Aligote’, an all-purpose grape for making white wines. Reds acquire their character from Pinot Noir and Gamay.
The wines of Burgundy are classified according to four categories. The most basic appellation is “Bourgogne.” A step above is “Villages.” The name of the parish, such as Chambolle-Musigny, Nuits-Saint-Georges or Gevrey-Chambertin, must appear on the label, along with the name of the vineyard. The listing, for example, would appear as “Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses,” Nuits-St. Georges Les Poirets.
Then come the “Premier Crus,” and finally, the Grand Crus,” where only the name of the vineyard appears on the labels.
CHABLIS – Chablis covers some 3,600 acres, and, on average, produces some 11,000,000 gallons of dry white wine from the Chardonnay planted in marly chalk soil.
First, there is the Chablis “Grand Cru.” There are seven of these: Vaudesir, Les Preusses, Les Clos, Grenoilles, Bougros, Valmur and Blanchots. Then come the Chablis “Premier Cru” almost as great as the Grand Crus but more numerous. Finally the Chablis itself and of course, the Petit Chablis.
In the region of Chablis white wines from the Aligote and Sauvignon varieties are also produced. In the parish of Saint Bris, the wine from the Sauvignon grape is entitled to the status of VDQS.
The parishes of Saint Bris, Irancy and Coulanges produce excellent red and rose wines from the Pinot Noir, Tressot and Cesar varieties. They are entitled to the appellation Bourgogne.
Winegrowers also produce a sparkling wine according to the Methode Champenoise which is entitled to the appellation Cremant de Bourgogne. The Cremant de Bourgogne is also produced in the Cote d’Or and Saone-et-Loire departments.
COTE d’OR -From Dijon to Chagny for some 30 miles, the vineyards of the Cote d’Or stretch along the sunny hillsides facing the RN 73. It is divided into two distinct parts, which, although related in a way, are different. They are the vineyards of the Cote de Nuits and that of the Cote de Beaune.
They cover some 15,750 acres and produce a yearly average of some 5,060,0000 gallons of red and white wines.
COTE de NUITS – The Cote de Nuits has a slightly chalky soil with a marl and fuller earth sub-soil. Its primary grape variety is the Pinot Noir, called Noirien, to which is blended a little Chardonnay. The Cote de Nuits produces almost exclusively red wines, the two exceptions being the Clos Blanc de Vougeot and the white Musigny, both very rare wines.
The red wines of the Cote de Nuits such as Chambertin, Musigny, Clos de Vougeot and Romanee-Conti, have contributed to the fame of this exceptional wine-growing area.
COTE DE BEAUNE – The soil is varied containing chalky clay with traces of iron salt, marl, and light marl. The Cote de Beaune is renowned for such reds as Volnay, Pommard, Beaune and Aloxe-Corton. It also produces the most famous white wines of Burgundy, Montrachet, Meursault and Corton-Charlemagne.
MERCUREY and THE COTE CHALONNAISE -Between the red Cote d’Or and the region of Macon lie the vineyards of Mercurey and Givry. Here red wines, with much bouquet and body, are the perfect link between the red wines of the Cote de Beaune and the red wines of Macon. In this region one also finds the vineyards of Rully and Montagny, and the sparkling Burgundies such as Cremant de Bourgogne.
MACONNAIS -Although usually marly, the soil of the southern part of this region is chalky clay and this is where the white wines are produced.
The most famous wine of the Macon is Pouilly-Fuisse. Other elegant wines whose production is small but excellent are Pouilly-Loche and Pouilly-Vinzelles.
Among the white wines of Macon one must not forget another appellation wine, the Saint Veran.
Macon Blanc sometimes adds the name of the village where it is produced (e.g. Macon-Vire, Macon-Lugny). Macon Villages is always a white wine.
Usually the red and rose’ wines of Macon are produced from the Gamay but it is permitted to use the Pinot Noir. Wines produced from Pinot Noir grapes planted in the Macon are entitled to the “Bourgogne Rouge” appellation. If they are the result of a blend of one-third Pinot Noir and two-thirds Gamay then it is entitled to the appellation “Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains.”
All the white wines produced in Burgundy are made from the Chardonnay grapes with the exception of “Bourgogne Aligote'” which takes its name from the grape that produces it, Aligote.
BEAUJOLAIS – This is the largest region of Burgundy and covers some 51,250 acres. “Beaujolais” is almost exclusively a red wine.
The region is divided into two parts the north and the south.
The north is home of the 10 growths of Beaujolais, Brouilly, Chenas, Chiroubles, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, Saint-Amour and Regnie.
“Beaujolais Villages” is a second classification, indicating that the wine is made with grapes grown in the thirty-nine communes. Following in the line of importance comes the plain “Beaujolais.”
Champagne, a unique sparkling wine, a fit accompaniment to all celebrations, is the most famous of all the wines of France.
The area where Champagne is produced comprises the mountain of Reims,
the valley of the Marne river, the Cote des Blancs (where only white-grape varieties are planted, hence its name), and the regions of Bar-sur-Aube and Bar-sur-Seine in the Aube department.
The soil is almost pure chalk with a layer of arable soil, never deeper than three feet. Chalk imparts to Champagne its pristine feel on the palate.
Champagne is produced from three grape varieties: Pinot, Meunier and Chardonnay. It is produced according to the well-known Methode Champenoise meaning “fermentation in the bottle.”
In the methode champenoise, each bunch of grapes is carefully checked before reaching the winery. Grapes that are either damaged or unripe are removed. The remaining grapes are then pressed in special presses, which insure no contact between the juice and the skins.
After fermentation is completed and the wine is comparatively bright, the still wine is filtered. Wines produced in different villages of Champagne are then blended by experienced tasters to make a “cuvee”, the blend of wine particular to each Champagne house. Then a liqueur made of cane sugar, yeasts and wine is added. The wine is then bottled. The bottles are stored in vast chalk underground cellars, where the second fermetnation takes place, as the yeasts react with the sugar in each bottle.
When the second fermentation is completed, the bottles are placed on tilted racks or “pupitre.” They are rotated a quarter of a turn for a certain time to ensure that the yeast deposit, residue of the second fermentation, is gradually brought down around the necks. This is known as “remuage.” The bottles are then stored neck down. Before the final packaging of the bottles they must be “degorged” that is to say, have the deposit removed.
To accomplish this, bottles are placed upside-down in special refrigeration units. These units contain a brine that cools about one inch of wine in the neck, blocking the sediment on the crown cap. Once the cap is removed, the sediment attached to the the ice is removed as well.
After this operation, a special blend of cane sugar diluted in the wine, produced in Champagne is added to each bottle. It is this which determines the degree of sweetness of Champagne: Brut, Extra Dry, Dry or Medium-Dry.
A vintage Champagne must remain in its bottle for at least three years before it can be put on the market.
Blanc de Blancs Champagne is produced solely from white grapes.
There is “Pink Champagne” which is produced by adding red wine produced in Champagne to the blend. This is the only rose’ wine produced in France which is a blend of red and white wine.
Finally “Cremant de Champagne” is one whose pressure is lower than that of normal Champagne (3 atmospheres instead of 5).
It is not necessary to age Champagne, it is ready for consumption as soon as it is put on the market.
COTEAUX CHAMPENOIS – The area of Champagne also produces still wines which are entitled to the appellation controlee “Coteaux Champenois.” They are either white or red. Among the reds, the wine of Bouzy is reputed for it quality and elegance.
COTE RHONE 223
COTES DU RHONE
The Cotes du Rhone lie along 125 miles on both sides of the river Rhone from Lyon to Avignon. The vineyard covers approximately 97,500 acres divided into two separate sectors.
NORTHERN ZONE – Here the vineyards hang on steep hillsides. The grape varieties used for white wines are Vognier, Roussane and Marsanne, while for the reds only one variety is used, Syrah. It is in this region that lies the smallest appellation vineyard of France, the Chateau-Grillet, covering some 4 acres of terraces, some holding no more an 6 vines. Other whites produced in the zone include Condrieu and Saint-Peray.
Cote Rotie and Cornas produce only powerful red wines.
Saint-Joseph, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage produce both red and white wines.
Wines with the Cotes-du-Rhone appellation are pleasant, and can be made with grapes grown in about one hundred communes.
SOUTHERN AREA – On the right bank of the Rhone River, two growing areas lending their names to two of France’s popular rose’ wines are located: Tavel and Lirac. Made mostly with Grenache and Cinsault, they are delightful, dry and fruity luncheon treats.
On the left bank of the Rhone, just north of Avignon lie the vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, one of France’s best known red wines. These are big, full-tasting wines, slow to develop. As many as thirteen grape varieties are responsible for this wine. There is also a rare white Chateauneuf-du-Pape produced from about 5% of the crop.
The river Loire flows for about six hundred miles through a valley constellated by numerous vineyards and beautiful, enchanting castles. The valley is known as Chateau country
POUILLY-SUR-LOIRE – Located just south of Paris, this town’s vineyards are planted with Sauvignon Blanc (known as Blanc Fume’) and Chasselas grape varieties. A wine, Pouilly Fume’, is made here exclusively with Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Pouilly Fume’ is dry, soft, with a slight smoky quality. It has nothing to do with Pouilly Fuisse’.
SANCERRE – Sancerre is a town located on the other side of the Loire. Its vineyards are also planted with Sauvignon Blanc. Both still and sparkling wines are made here.
VOUVRAY AND SAUMUR – The main grape variety in these wine districts is Chenin Blanc. Both still and sparkling wines are made here.
CHENIN AND BOURQUEIL – Exceptions in Loire, Chenin and Bourqueil make red wines of similar character, mostly with Cabernet Franc grapes. They are pleasant, fairly light reds, best appreciated when served slightly cool.
ANJOU – Both white and rose’ wines are made in this region. The whites, both still and sparkling, are made with Chenin Blanc.
Rose’ d’Anjou, very popular for its fruity, soft taste, is made with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot d’Aunis.
COTEAUX du LAYON – The vineyards, planted with Chenin Blanc, lie along the Layon River, a tributary of the Loire. The Coteaux du Layon produce delightful, sweet wines.
MUSCADET – Where the Loire flows into the Atlantic Ocean, near the city of Nantes, soil and microclimate contribute to the making of Muscadet an excellent growing area for the grape of the same name. Light and dry, this wine is an excellent accompaniment to shellfish dishes.
The appellation “muscat de Sevre-et-Maine” indicated that the grapes were grown in the heart of the area, thus producing a wine of superior quality.
The words “sur lie” on the label indicates that the wine was bottled soon after fermentation, and that it was not racked.
This small, mountainous wine-producing region near Switzerland produces wines of unique character. The best-known wine is Chateau Chalon, made with the Sauvignon grape picked as late as possible. The wine is kept in casks for a minimum of six years. During this time, a special film is formed, which imparts a particular nutty taste and aroma to the wine. It is known as “Vin Jaune,” or “yellow wine.”
The Southwest of France, thanks to vineyards covering some 50,0000 acres, produces wines that are varied and of excellent quality.
Among the appellations is Bergerac, east of Bordeaux, where both red and white wines are made. Perhaps the most famous is Monzabillac, a rich dessert wine. Another growing area is Cahors, responsible for highly tannic, slow-maturing, very dark red wines.
The vine was probably planted in Corsica by the Greeks a long time before the Christian era and today it covers over 70,000 acres.
Principal grape varieties for red and rose wines are Nielluccio, Sciacarello, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. Whites use Vermentino (Corsican Malvoisie) and Russula Bianca (Ugni Blanc.)
Delicious sweet wine are produced from Malvoisie or Muscat grapes in the Cap-Corse or Patrimonio.
The vine-growing region of Provence has the oldest vineyards of France. They were planted by the first Greek colonists, who arrived and settled on the Mediterranean seashore.
Numerous grape varieties are grown: the main ones are: Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Tibourenc, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah for the reds and Clairette, Rolle, Ugni Blanc and Semillon for the whites.
Cotes de Provence is the largest single appellation controlee in the region, known principally for rose’ wines.
Unparalleled Rose – Coteaux Varois en Provence (AOP) France- Vineyards are located in Coteaux Varois en Provence, France, with soil consisting of clay-limestone rocks. The rocky, gently sloping hills of Southern France and the region’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea creates ideal growing conditions for rosé wines. We source this cuvée of Syrah and Grenache from a beautiful wine estate in the picturesque massif de la Loube. The wine ferments in concrete tanks at 45˚F to dryness. The winemaking is very natural and hands off. The wine is aged on fine lees for 4 months prior to bottling. The wine is pale pink with an aroma of melon and tangerine. The taste offers fresh flavors of pomegranate and grapefruit.
Bordering the Mediterranean, west of Provence, is the largest region of France, the Midi. It is spread throughout four departments, and covers some 1,125,000 acres — about 35% of the total vineyard acreage in the country.
The Midi produces a large percentage of French table wine. The more renowned red wines are Corbieres, Roussillon and Minervois. A sweet wine is also made here, Muscat de Frontignan.