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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Wine Tasting – Part One

 

When someone says: “French”…..what’s the first second word that comes to mind? “Fashion?” Maybe. “Film?” Uh,could be.”WINE?” Yes sir, you betcha! That be the first,second word describing France. How could it not be with vines covering so much of the “terroir?”

From time to time France gives the World a movie/music star/sports hero. But the “gift” of French wine is constant and(happily)consistent. (Curiously,the World’s premier wine magazine,and wine’s most influential critic,are both American.)

On the World markets, French wine faces stiff competition from producers in other countries. Many of whom are either French,and/or have adopted the French model. Regardless of taste/price,there is one element French wines have that World wines do not.Authenticity. Because of A.O.C.(Appelation Origine Controle) – The government system of wine designation/control.

This “fidelity”to a specific location means that a Pinot Noir from Beaune,must be produced from those grapes alone,and grown within the Beaune appellation. This assures the consumer that this pinot is an authentic reflection of Beaune’s soil and climate.

World wines,on the other hand,have no such restrictions. And because wine is such a huge business, the Multinationals who churn out container carloads plus o’ vino,focus on the taste/price balance,relative to each market. And,if their grapes in any year are not “ab/fab”,they’ll be “enhanced” in the cellar.(“Better drinking through chemisty”…….NOT!)

There is even a wine producers “hotline” offering market specific additive info. “OK – So you want to produce a Chardonnay for low end Japanese consumers..Since they like a banana flavor on the finish,you need to add yeast b-957.”

Happily, if you do detect a nuance of banana in your French Savignon, you can rest assured, thanks more to tradition than A.O.C, it’s the real deal.

Although Italy produces more wine by volume than France, the adjective -“Quality” is synonymous with French Wine in the popular imagination.

The Bottom (and obvious)line: Every Country has wines of varying degrees of “quality” – however you wish to define the word.

One wine that fits MY definition of quality is produced by Domaine Philippe Viret, in the heart of one of France’s classic wine regions – Bourgogne.

A “virtual Tasting” is available in this video – with English sub-titles.

Bonne Degustation! (Good Tasting!)

THROW  ME  A  BONE  HERE, PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?

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28 Responses to “French Wine Tasting – Part One”

  1. larry cavendish says:

    very informative post. lifts the curtain a little biy on the behind the scenes “tinkering” that goes on in the wine world. imagine you4ll have more revelations in part twoM

  2. wilfred pettibone says:

    perhaps the best(and shortest!) definition of a.o.c. i’ve yet seen. good information for those who are new to important facts you reveal here.

  3. betty evershall says:

    the(to me) new info you keep coming up with is amazing! Looking forward to part 2!

  4. stan kerr says:

    I’m wondering if the demand for “authenticity”(ie – the A.O.C. model) is sufficient to keep French producers from losing a sizeable market share to the World Wine producers. Perhaps you’ll be addressing this in your next post?

  5. paula worthington says:

    As always, you succeed in giving us new insights into familiar topics. Excellent explanation of a.o.c. vs “world wines.”

  6. bob carlson says:

    the video really does convey the feeling and dedication of the wine makers.

  7. thanks for the education – never knew “wine’s most infuential critic” was American.

  8. gerry – hard to believe, i know. But sometimes we get ahead of the pack!

  9. jack carson says:

    your post brings back happy memories of my last trip to france…tasting many great wines in tiny places by complete unknowns, Fabulous! Obviously this is what rocks your boat as well.good to know.

  10. your info about the “wine producers hotline” was a big eye opener.

  11. fanny armond says:

    Perry – I hear ya. Does this mean you’re off banana flavored wines now?

  12. fanny – just the yeast enhanced ones!

  13. the info in this post, and the feeling you get of “being there” from the video confirm you’re “living the dream!” Thanks for sharing with us!!

  14. steffi powicki says:

    have learned much from this post,,,,,,big eye opener to the reality of wine production…..i’ll be watching for the next installment. thank you again.

  15. barnaby millston-white says:

    Your revelation of the “wine producers hotline” confirms a suspicion I have long held regarding the “enhancement” of some wines.Well done.

  16. jon zaters says:

    kudos for lifting , if ever so slightly, the veil surrounding the mysteries of wine production.

  17. carlton lynch says:

    just so the rest of your readers don’t think that all japanese taste buds are salivating over banana flavored chardonnay, i’ve been in 5 star french resturants(in france) where the biggest spenders were japanese. And usually a table of 6 or 8.

  18. joy fetters says:

    thanks for explaining that a.o.c. thing – i always wondered what that was all about. Now i know!

  19. trevor lucent says:

    my heart goes out to the independant wine producers who must battle the economic force of the World Wine giants. Hopefully there are enough of us who value their unique contribution to real taste to keep them from going under,

  20. marion winters says:

    Nice to see more wine info on your site. although i do really love your unusual adventures, also.

  21. paula davidson-wright says:

    enjoyed very much your insights regarding french and world wine. Like you, i enjoy discovering and supporting the small, independant producers.

  22. doreanna temolow says:

    suggest you combine the idea of your “deep thoughts” posts into wine stories….you know – “deep wine thoughts?” what are ya thinkin’?……(lol!)

  23. lannie pottersly says:

    Always enjoy your posts…..this one especially, Waiting for no. 2. Keep up your good work!

  24. kenntish steele says:

    Looking forward to more on this subject. Excellent start!

  25. stephen waters says:

    Interesting to note that you got through an entire article on wine without once mentioning the “p” man. (hint – rhymes with “barker.”)

  26. carmen piccolini says:

    i hope you will be following up this excellent post with more on world wines and their impact on the a.o.c. producers.a subject i believe many people are interested in.

  27. janice cuppington says:

    after reading about the wine producers hotline, i guess the answer to the question : ” is nothing sacred?” is a big NO!

  28. paul severinson says:

    Hopefully you’ll be giving us more insight on this captivating subject in your next installment.

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