About French Wine

Where does one start when discussing wine and France? As well as being one of the two leading wine-producing countries in the world (along with Italy - the numbers are extremely close every year), it is the spiritual birthplace of so many famous wines, from the great red and white Burgundies to the esteemed red wines of Bordeaux as well as the world's finest sparkling wine, Champagne.

While these wines have been celebrated and praised for many decades and can be found on the finest wine lists around the world, there have been problems for French wines in overall sales - the belief that French wines are necessarily expensive does not help. This is especially true with younger buyers, as strict French wine laws have meant that the country's producers are limited regarding innovation. Thus France has lost market share to numerous New World Countries such as the US, Chile and Argentina and even to its neighbor, Italy.

Still, French wines are undisputed as far as respect around the world and there have been some marketing campaigns lately that have driven sales for wines such as Cotes-du-Rhone and those from Provence. It is obvious that French wines will always be held in great regard by consumers and critics alike.
Top Picks for France
217486
Domaine Sarrabelle
2011 In Vinum Gaillac AOP
Nearly opaque garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of dried blueberries, toffee, delicate dried flowers, and toasty cedar and leather with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a sleek, engaging, medium-long peach skin, cedar, nutskin, and black tea finish with well-integrated, dusty tannins and moderate oak. A plush, complex, velvet brick of a red wine with evolving waves of flavor.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219328
Château du Père Antoine
2014 Cuvée Oliva Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
Violet color. Oaky, elegant aromas and flavors of violets and chocolate berry nut tart, horn, gremolata, and sugared plum with a tannic, soft, bone-dry full body and an elegant, long cedar, green peppercorn nuts, cassis custard, and praline and cedar finish with chewy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. Delight in this wines complexity and beauty after laying it down for a few years.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216467
Racines de Lauriga
2015 Côtes Catalanes IGP
Garnet black color. Inviting, interesting aromas and flavors of peanut brittle, berry chutney, and caramelized apricots with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, stimulating, medium-length black cherry and raspberry, marinated beets, roasted nuts and cedar, and melon finish with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and light oak. A lively, savory red with excellent structure and layers of flavor.
95 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219431
Signature de Bel-Air
2016 Beaujolais-Villages
Medium violet color. Aromas and flavors of juicy cherry, cranberry, banana, and violets with an bright, dryish medium body and an interesting, easy warm soil finish with fruit tannins and no oak. There’s nothing simple nor pedestrian about this stellar example of a Beaujolais-Villages.
94 points $15 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217678
Chateau Tour Saint-Christophe
2014 Grand Cru St. Emilion
Nearly opaque deep purple color. Artificial aromas and flavors of chocolate covered berries, roasted nuts, and subtle brown spices with a satiny, bright, medium-to-full body and a smooth, layered, long praline, beets, and sandalwood finish with light oak. A voluptuous, very ripe red Bordeaux wine with delicious chocolatey oak.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219321
Château du Père Antoine
2015 Cuvée Oliva Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
Dusty deep purple color. Rustic, attractive aromas of mocha and sweet violet, barnyard, spiced cherry preserve, and chervil with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dryish full body and a complex, very long chocolate covered forest berries, espresso bean, twigs, and earth finish with well-integrated tannins. A soulful Bordeaux with gorgeous balance of fruit, earth and tannins.
93 points $34.50
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218239
La Croix Saint Jean
2014 du Pere Michel Minervois
Garnet color. Fruity, minerally, toasty aromas and flavors of berry tart, delicate spice, cedar pencil shavings, and sundried tomato with a vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and an effortless, compelling, medium-long roasted nuts and beets and light minerals finish with fine, silky tannins and light oak. A round, savory, and elegant balanced dry French red that will be very versatile.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217872
La Croix Saint Jean
2014 Lo Paire Minervois
Dark garnet black color. Attractive aromas and flavors of melted toffee and buttery bubbly berry pie crust with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a subtle, long marinated beets and yams and vanilla nut brittle finish with well-integrated, chewy, fine tannins and light oak. An artfully crafted red wine with rich fruity and savory flavors and super fine tannins.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217873
La Croix Saint Jean
2014 Lo Mainatge Minervois
Medium garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of creme brulee, roasted nuts, and pressed flowers with a satiny, soft, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, appealing, long cherry custard and blood orange chutney finish with silky, fine tannins and moderate oak. A seductively silky and savory red that is sure to satisfy.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217675
Domaine La Soumade
2014 Cuvee Prestige Rasteau
Violet color. Interesting, complex aromas and flavors of dark caramelized stone fruits and berries, spiced yams, carob orange cake, and clay with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a seamless, refreshing, medium-long cherries and citrus, nutskin, pencil shavings, and earth finish with soft, dusty tannins and moderate oak. A rich, complex French red with enticing fruit and spice flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab