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France, Western Australia

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.
The wine regions of WA sit at the state’s southwest tip. The famed Margaret River region, with its warm maritime climate, lies roughly 200 kilometres south of Perth. Rainfall is high here compared with other Australian wine regions, but it falls mainly during the winter. Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular planting, and winemakers often blend it with Merlot to create Bordeaux-style wines. Margaret River is also distinguished for its Chardonnays, with their high natural acidity and concentrated stone-fruit aromas. Malolactic fermentation and barrel ageing further lend complexity to these special wines. Sauvignon Blanc is also widely planted here and often goes into blends with Semillon. Wine production also occurs in the Great Southern region, which includes the subregions of Frankland River and Mount Barker. Here, they produce floral Rieslings, peppery and elegant Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other wine regions in this large state include Blackwood Valley, Geographe, Peel, Pemberton, Manjimup, and Swan District.
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