Figuring Out French Wine

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What tips can you give beginners on French wine in general?

This was the question recently posed to me at a wine tasting. It kind of caught me off guard. I mean, French wine is pretty tough to figure out especially to newcomers and/or to those who don’t speak the language. So how to answer?

Here are my top tips:

1) Don’t be afraid to try.

France offers tremendous diversity in wine and while it boasts legendary icons at stratospheric prices, there is so much more and often at tremendous value for money. Regions like Alsace, Languedoc, Roussillon, Bergerac, Gaillac and the Loire make amazing wines and are often undervalued by comparison with their Bordeaux and Burgundy counterparts.

2) Buy from someone you trust.

It can be daunting to face an incomprehensible wall of wine and make a purchase choice, even for the most adventurous among us. In that case, find a merchant that you can talk to and create a dialogue. Let him/her get a feel for what you like and guide your initial purchases. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your knowledge and understanding of your own palate will progress.

3) Taste – a lot!

Tastings are also great ways to learn more about a specific grape or region. Organizations such as the Wine and Spirit Education Trust provide exceptional opportunities for educational tastings that are still fun. Wine bars and retailers that offer good wines by the glass and/or tasting samples can really help in your wine education.  And by all means, take advantage of every chance you have to taste with the actual winemakers!

Private tastings whether formal or informal are also a great way to build your knowledge base. Organize with friends or give us a call and we’ll help!

4) Have some fun!

Wine is meant for enjoyment so go social with it!

Hope this helps and holler our way if I can be of further assistance!



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