For centuries, France has set the benchmarks for virtually every type of wine you could imagine, developed through a generations-long focus on the concept of terroir.
In a nutshell, “terroir” is about matching the right variety to the right type of soil and climate, and simply allowing the resulting wines to “speak for themselves.” In years when the weather cooperated at key junctures of the growing season, the resulting wines could be phenomenal.
So, the wine world has long looked to France’s Bordeaux appellation for benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot… to its Burgundy region for exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir… to the Rhone Valley for rich red cuvees (such as blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre)… the Loire area for refreshing rosé wines… and the Champagne appellation for sparkling wine.
The system has served the country well… for the most part. The challenge faced by French vintners of the 21st century involves what’s happening in the rest of the wine world, where winemakers have not been afraid to challenge old conventions in order to produce great wines.
Now, however, a new generation of French vintners — possessing much more formal training than their predecessors — is stepping up and shaking things up.
In general, they’re using new techniques to coax more flavor out of the wines, they’re utilizing science to minimize vintage variables, and they’re even experimenting with varieties seldom before seen in certain appellations.
It all adds up to a brave new world for French wine, and the France’s Best Reds Collection offers a delicious introduction with:
- A fresh approach to Bordeaux from an experienced winemaking family in the 2014 Chateau Le Mas.
- A different approach to Cabernet Sauvignon in southern France via the 2015 Laurent de L’Olibet.
- The 2015 Espirit des Trois Pierres, which melds three varieties from the Costieres de Nimes area of the Rhone territory.
France has long been the leader on the global wine scene, and things are now changing for the better. That can only add up to an even greater selection of French wines for us to enjoy.