All About French Wines

Although France is not the world’s biggest producer of wine, it produces the most amount of wine by value. Many connoisseurs consider French wines to be superior to all other wines in the world. There are ten wine-making regions that produce French wines — Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Loire Valley, Provence, Corsica, the South West, and the Cotes du Rhone.

Grapes grown in France, and at any vineyard in fact, are grown under a very specific set of conditions that contribute to its taste. This is called terroir (a French word that is difficult to translate into English), and French wines are famous for their terroir. Some conditions that contribute to taste include grape variety, climate of the area, slope, soil chemistry below the vine, and/or the length of the post-harvesting process to finish the wine. French wines collectively have over 100 different terroirs, which is a huge variety of different conditions where grapes are grown. In turn, this produces numerous different wines, so almost no one bottle of French wine is the same as another.

There are 19 grape varieties which can produce everything from cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and pinot noir (red wines) to chardonnay, chenin blanc, and pinot gris (white wines). French wines and their labels can be difficult to understand if you don’t know French. French wines are labeled by the region they come from. Most other wines are labeled by variety, like “cabernet sauvignon” or “chardonnay.” So knowing which wine to choose takes a little bit of advance knowledge on which regions produce the kind of wine you’re looking for. For example, the Pomerol and St. Emilion regions of France only produce merlots. In Burgundy, merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes are grown.

Buying wine online can have many advantages, as well as disadvantages for the consumer and seller buying wine online For the true wine connoisseur, buying wine online can be a good way of finding obscure or hard-to-find wines. Many web sites out there allow the mystified shopper to organize wine types according to what they’re looking for or what they prefer. Plus, they usually include wine reviews that can guide the novice to some pretty good wine experiences. However, buying wine online also has some drawbacks.

If while buying wine online, you order a single bottle, shipping costs can get very expensive. This is because the wine plus bottle are typically very heavy. If buying wine online, it is most practical to buy in bulk. This will save you money on shipping costs, since it will cost less per bottle to ship. Some distributors will also give a hefty discount when buying in bulk. Bottles of wine are also extremely vulnerable to major temperature changes during shipping.

Taste can be affected by temperature, humidity, light, and vibration, all of which could impact the shipment during transit. Having your wine shipped during the spring or fall months will most likely minimize temperature changes during shipping. During summer or winter, hot or cold temperatures could ruin your shipment. Quicker shipping options could also minimize temperature changes.

A little less than half of the states in the US also prohibit direct shipment of alcoholic beverages to anyone who lives in that state. Translation — buying wine online doesn’t mean you’ll be able to receive it. Those states that do allow shipment to you from buying wine online have many restrictions that can affect your planned shipment. You should do your homework before ordering that special bottle of chardonnay to be delivered to your doorstep.

Source of All About French Wines by Sarah Freeland – author of All About French Wines article

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