I was born and raised in France. A country with has a (very) strong wine culture. However, it might surprise some of you to hear that I never drink wine or any type of alcohol in fact. Not even in social occasions. There are several reasons to that but I won’t mention them here. […]
French Wines Today. Did you know France is one of the big heavyweights when it comes to wine production? Because of the climate in France, which is generally cooler than many of the wineries in California, it actually helps create a different taste to the wine. Some would say that French wines are lighter-bodied, which allows it to be more easily paired with all varieties of food. Expect to pay a pretty penny though. With the fancy names usually after the place where the wine was made, it definitely sounds nicer than the plain old Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. Fancier names always demand a fancier price. <p> If you are just becoming interested in wine but don't know much about it in general, then you will want to learn some of the basic facts before spending your money on a certain bottle. It will take you a while to learn enough about wine to where you don't even need to think before buying any given kind, but it always helps to learn about what regions in France have the best wine. <p> Of course every person has a different taste and preference, red or white, for example. One of the first things to learn is that most French sparkling wine comes from the region of <a href="http://www.winemag.com/category/wine-ratings/champagne">Champagne. </a> <p> A small portion of wine made here is still wine, and there are also certain red wines there are made as well. It will take a little while for you to develop a real sense of which kind of wines you like the best. It is simply a matter of trying a little bit of everything until you start to be able to recognize certain kinds by taste and smell alone. Wine tasting competitions are commonly held in many parts of France. <p> In these contests, people use their sense of smell and taste to determine which kind they are savoring. It is truly a skill that takes years to develop, and before you get interested in participating, you should know some of the basics first. <p> The Rhone Valley part of France is where most of the red wine is made, and the composition of wine that is made in the northern and southern Rhone regions differ greatly. You will find that after you sample enough wine, you will be able to actually differentiate between different regions of the same geographic location. <p> That is how strong a difference some of these wines have. The Burgundy region, which is located in Eastern France, is responsible for turning out red and white wines alike. Wines from this region are known for being both savory and high-priced. <p> Another famous wine region in France is Bordeaux. It is responsible for shipping out many different kinds of red wines overseas, and are blended mostly with Cabernet. For example, in the United States, many people associate the production of wine with the many vineyards located in California. You will want to select the wine you buy based both on location and overall taste. <p> However, nowadays, France is being flooded by wine from the USA, South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand plus the stuff from the new EU members from the Eastern Bloc. If that is not enough, India is starting to expand it’s small but long established wineries. <p> It has been said that the French wine producers have, to some extent, brought this problem on themselves as they were resistant to change when it came to marketing their wine, preferring to remain with their traditional labels on the bottles which featured the appellation and vineyard, rather than promoting the grapes used. Change in <a href="http://frenchwinesitineraries.com/2017/02/16/wine-and-culture-in-france/">culture</a> is such an interesting topic. <p> This new method has been used to great effect by the rest of the world, aided and abetted by the supermarket chains, where the knowledge of the products they are selling is pretty sketchy on the shop floor. <p> Although the new producers are making some very good vintage type wine, so good that they are beating the French at their own game, their first concern is for a product that is consistent from year to year and so there are vast swathes of vines being used. That is the problem, the whole magic and mystery of wine making and drinking is being sanitised for supermarket profits by the big multinational companies. <p> Just as the artisan butchers, bakers and the rest have been marginalised by the stack’em up and sell’em cheap, so the winemakers are going, some might say have already gone, the same way. Just look along any supermarket shelf and you will see rows of Cabinet Sauvignon, Cabernet Merlot, Chardonay etc., coming from the USA, Australia, Chile, Roumania, et al., and a couple of the most well known areas such as Bordeaux, Rioja, Frascati, Chianti, Etc..
Our Favorite Wines
What is your favorite french wine? This question comes in the top of the toughest questions ever asked to wine lovers. With such a wide range of wines from so many different regions, which one is the best? <p> Quality has improved a great deal these last few years and even the cheapest wine has something to offer. All styles of wines are produced, red but also white and rosé wine. <p> The Loire valley offers nice white wines that suit any occasion meanwhile Alsace offers something more stylish and elegant. Bordeaux and Burgundy are the classics and you cannot go wrong with them. However, Roussillon and Languedoc wines, both region from the south of France, are warm wines that will bring a sunny feeling to your dinner or lunch. Last but not least, Champagne is a must, always appreciated by connoisseurs or for any occasion, especially weddings. <p> <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terroir">“Terroir”</a> is a key concept when it comes to french wines. Each region but also each area has its own wine with its own characteristics which brings an incredible diversity to the world of french wines. There are standards but there is no standard french wine. It’s the beauty of it. <p> From the outside, it looks like it’s chaos. But actually there are labels. Plenty of them, also called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appellation_d'origine_contr%C3%B4l%C3%A9e">“appellations contrôlées”</a>. It is a guarantee of origin but not a guarantee of quality so be careful. Rules are created and then applied in order to be sure that the wine has been made following certain rules. Then it is tested to make sure that it is typical of the region where it is produced. <p> Some of the earliest users of the ‘cru’ classification system were the Catholic monks of Burgundy in the Middle Ages. The Church at the time owned most of the vineyards in the region and were able to note which vineyards, and even which plot within each vineyard, produced the best wine. These plots, which they designated ‘crus’, were then reserved for making the best wine. <p> Today the job has been handed over to the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) which oversees the complicated job of wine labelling in France. Deciphering French wine labels can be tricky, so it helps to become familiar with the regions to understand its classification system. Wine tours are a great way to experience a region’s wines and to more fully understand the different terroirs and how they help to create the region’s very best wines. <p> The only place to go is to specialist wine shops or ask a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sommelier">Sommelier</a> but the trouble there is that they will be concentrating on the pricier end of the market, that said, they may have some interesting wine that won’t break the bank, although it probably won’t be as cheap as the supermarket. What you loose in the financial swings you more than make up on the knowledge roundabout. In the main, these people are passionate about wine and will be able to give you expert advice. If you become a regular customer, you should get invited to wine tasting sessions, which is the best way to understand the differences in the wide variety of grapes and winemaking. <p> The absolutely best way to buy French wine and find the perfect wine, or indeed any wine, is to get in a car and drive around the countryside looking at the little vineyards and tasting here and there. Take some large flagons, at least 5 or 10 litre capacity because some of those smaller places sell only to the locals who bring there own containers. <p> The <a href="http://frenchwinesitineraries.com/2017/02/16/wine-and-culture-in-france/">joy of finding</a> a great little French wine from a farm house tucked away out of sight, talking to ‘Le Patron’ (the boss) about how it was made, what the year had been like etc is one of the best you can get. You need to go through the adventure to discover for yourself what is your favorite wine. A wine is more than just a taste, it is an experience.
Fun without the Mess
<p> We have all been there. Spilling red wine on fabric is a common occurrence in any party or even alone at home. You move too fast, or you are just absorbed in your thoughts and the next thing you know you have a big red stain on your leg or on your sofa. <p> When you find yourself in this type of situation, no need to panic. We will show you a few tricks that will…do the trick. Take a few deep breaths and follow the advice listed below. In a few short minutes, you will be happy you did. <p> In France, it is said that you should pour some salt on a red wine stain immediately after in order to avoid wine stains. It might sound like an “old wives” cure but there is actually some truth in it. Ahh, the culture we <a href="http://frenchwinesitineraries.com/2017/02/16/wine-and-culture-in-france/">all grow up with</a>. <p> With the following tips, we can help you remove the stain and save yourself further embarrassment, especially if you are in a social setting. Don’t let that ruin the mood and show your friends how skilfully you can remove a big red wine stain. <p> First of all, you will need to act quickly in order to dab or blot the excess liquid before it is absorbed entirely by the fabric. Be careful to not rub the stain, otherwise, it might make things worse. <p> Once it is done, you can apply salt and white wine right after that to neutralize the stain. And last but not least you will have to wash your shirt or any other stained piece of clothing, as usual, using your regular detergent. However, there are also a few other ways that can work. Other solutions involve the use of baking soda paste on the affected area. <p> This is not a secret formula and it might work only to some extent depending on the gravity of the situation. Keep in mind that it is not the easiest stain to remove but with the tips you just read you should be able to save your favorite white shirt without too much damage. <p> Don’t forget to protect the layers of clothes underneath otherwise you might end up with two stains for the price of one! If you don’t have salt or want to try something different, using white vinegar on the stain in order to neutralize the red pigments and what gives it its purple color. Right after applying vinegar, use laundry detergent and wash with hot water. <p> If the stain is particularly resistant and you need to save your white shirt, you can use the “nuclear option”: soaking it in bleach for about ten minutes. Then wash it in hot water and watch the wine stain disappear. <p> Please note that the salt trick we just mentioned also work for your carpets and rugs. The salt will soak into the stain and dry it up. After a while, you just have to vacuum up what is left and say “goodbye” to the wine stain. <p> Apart from clothes and carpets, your tablecloth might be stained too. In this situation, simply boil hot water in a kettle and pour it over the stain to wash it up while securing the portion of the fabric involved with a rubber band. <p> If all the tricks above do not work, consider using special products to remove the stains…there is a long list of magic products and all types of oxi cleaners that we will not mention it here, some of them are quite efficient. You can also find a professional carpet cleaning company, such as the one who gave us these cleaning tips. <a href="http://www.safecarpetcleaning.com">Carpet Cleaning Orlando</a>. Give them a call if you're in their area! <p> If you stained your clothes, don’t forget to apply pre-wash, otherwise, you might still find your shirts or pants stained even after washing it. If you let it dry for too long, it will be equally hard to remove. No solution is perfect but now you know there are many options when it comes to removing wine stains. <p> Next time, consider drinking white wine instead of red wine, it might save you some trouble!