Dessert, France

Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More-so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.

Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.

Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
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  1. Climens Sauternes Barsac (375ml) 2016
    A rarity in the area, the vineyard at Chateau Climens is planted to 100% Semillon on chalky limestone, sand and clay soils. Situated in the Barsac area of Sauternes, Climens will display a touch more richness than its Barsac peers, but ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
  2. Chateau Coutet Sauternes-Barsac 2013
    The 2013 Coutet has one of the most complex aromatics you will find this year - a smorgasbord of citrus fruit, lime zest, orange blossom and white peach that is beautifully interwoven with compelling mineralite. The palate is extremely well-balanced, very ... Learn More
    pts
    Wine Spectator
    pts
    James Suckling
  3. Chateau Coutet Sauternes-Barsac 2014 (750ml)
    Outer quote mark The Château Coutet 2014 is a blend of 75% Sémillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc and 2% Muscadelle and delivers...cue the drumroll...a whopping 162 grams per liter of residual sugar, the highest level of any Sauternes that I have data ... Learn More
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    Wine Spectator
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    Wine Enthusiast
  4. Chateau Coutet Sauternes-Barsac 2018
    The best Sauternes from Barsac, as rated by US President Thomas Jefferson in 1787, Chateau Coutet has a long-standing record of excellence. The winery's exceptional terroir benefits from old vines with exceptionally deep roots that concentrate the flavours of the fruit. ... Learn More
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    Wine Enthusiast
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    Robert Parker
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    Decanter
  5. Chateau Coutet Sauternes-Barsac 2010
    Another rocking sweet wine is the 2017 Château Coutet. This big, full-bodied, opulent beauty has serious notes of orange blossom, buttered citrus, and honey, yet also shows the more pure, precise, and elegant style of the vintage on the palate. ... Learn More
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    Wine Spectator
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    Wine Enthusiast
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    The Wine Advocate
  6. Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes 2018
    The pale to medium lemon-gold colored 2018 Suduiraut comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant notes of candied peel, warm pineapple, guava and key lime pie with hints of orange marmalade and beeswax. The palate is packed with power and ... Learn More
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    James Suckling
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    Robert Parker
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    Decanter
  7. Chateau Doisy Daene L'Extravagant Sauternes (375ML) 2009
    This is rich and concentrated, with crème brûlée and apple crumble on the nose and palate. Full-bodied and very sweet. Thick and powerful. Layered and massive. ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
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    Wine Spectator
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