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Red Blends, 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. Domaine de Cristia Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007
    Domaine de Cristia is a wine estate located in Courthézon, in the eastern reaches of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The vineyards are dominated by Grenache, alongside Syrah and Mourvèdre, as well as white grape varieties like Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
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    Wine Spectator
  2. Château La Nerthe "Cuvée des Cadettes" Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010
    Château La Nerthe is a leading estate in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region of the southern Rhône Valley. The estate has been producing wine since the 12th Century, but its reputation has been largely earned by current proprietors the ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
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    Stephen Tanzer
  3. Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2011
    Paul Avril Clos des Papes is a wine producer in the Rhône Valley, making one of the most sought-after wines in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC. The estate is made up of 24 small plots throughout the appellation totalling 32 hectares (79 acres). ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
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    Stephen Tanzer
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