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France, Graves

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. Chateau Ferrande Graves Bordeaux 2018
    The wines are aged in an average of 20% new, French oak barrels for 12 to 14 months before bottling. Chateau Ferrande can be enjoyed on the young side with decanting. Young vintages can be decanted for about 1 hour. This allows the wine ... Learn More
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    James Suckling
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    Wine Enthusiast
  2. Chateau Pape Clement Rouge 2020 (En Primeur - Delivery 2023)
    Named after its most famous owner, Pope Clement V, Chateau Pape Clement in Pessac Leognan makes both red and white wine from their 32.5 hectare vineyard. Vineyards for the red wine is planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, while the soils ... Learn More
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    Jancis Robinson MW
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    James Suckling
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    Vinous
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