France for dummies


Grapes of burgundy are based around pinot noir and chardonnay

Buzeron – the only appellation that can produce aligote



Cote de beaune village wines are red and may come from pommard, volnay or aloxe corton, beaune

Cote de nuits are red and rarely white



  • whites made from exclusively chardonnay

7 grand crus

  • Les Clos
  • Vaudesir
  • Valmur
  • Les Preuses
  • Blanchot
  • Bougros
  • Grenouilles

La Mountonne is considered the unofficial 8th grand cru

All grand cru sites are planted on kemmiridgen soil and are on the right bank of the siren

Cote de Nuits

Marsanny and fixin comprise the top part

Gevery chambertin’s grand crus

  • latricies – chambertin
  • charmes chambertin
  • griottes – chambertin
  • charmes chambertin
  • chambertin
  • clos de beze
  • mayzis chambertin
  • chapelle chambertin
  • ruchottes chambertin


Morey st denis

  • close de tart
  • close de la roche
  • close de lambrey
  • close st denis
  • bonne mares


Chambolle musigny

  • bonnes mares
  • le musigny



  • clos de vouget


Vosnee – romanee

  • romanee conti
  • La Romanee
  • La tache
  • Richebourg
  • Romanee st vivant
  • La Grand Rue
  • Grand Echezeaux
  • Echezeaux


Nuits St George


Cote de Beaune


Aloxe corton, ladoix serrigny, pernand vergelesses

  • Corton
  • Corton Charlemagne
  • Charlemagne





Volnay and pommard (no grand crus)


Puligny – montrachet

  • le montrachet
  • batard montrachet
  • chevalier montract
  • bienvenues – batard montrachet


Chassagne – montrachet

  • criots batard montrachet


Cote chalonnaise

5 villages

  • bouzeron
  • rully
  • givry
  • mecurey
  • montagny


The maconnais

  • Pouilly Fusse
  • Pouilly loche
  • Pouilly vinzelles
  • St veran
  • Vire Clesse



  • morgon
  • brouilly
  • cote de brouilly 

The Rhone Valley


Northern Rhone

  • Continental climate, has greater seasonal temperature shifts
  • Schistous heat retaining granitic soil defines much of the rhone valley
  • The soil becomes denser and more clay derived as you head south
  • Syrah achieves its best here

5 appellations for syrah

  1. hermitage
  2. crozes hermitage
  3. cornas
  4. Cote Rotie – up to 20% of viogner may be added
  5. St-Joseph


Cote – rotie

  • 2 slopes nearest ampuis – cote brune and cote blonde are considered the heart of the appellations terroir



  • Producers are chapoutier jaboulet, jean louis chave and all produce syrah. Behind the hill is crozes hermitage, their wines are generally softer


  • The syrah is generally hard to approach at youth. The soil is made up of naked granite


  • Produce basic level red for rhone valley


St. peray

  • Most southerly region of the northern rhone and produces exclusively from marsanne and rousanne


Condrieu and chateau Grillet

  • 100% viogner, grillet is a monopole


NB: cornas and cote rotie may only produce red wine. St.Joseph, crozes hermitage and hermitage may produce a small amount of marsanne.


Southern Rhone

  • Grenache is the most planted grape, mourvedre and syrah constitute a significant percentage of plantings. The climate here is distinctly Mediterranean. Sand, Clay, Gravel and limestone make up the soil mix.


Chateaunuef-du-pape AOP

  • Offers red and white. Papal crest embossed on the shoulder marks estate bottled wine. Galets are the little rocks that surround the vines and keep them warm at night.

13 grapes comprise the chateaunuef-du-pape mix

(Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Cinsault, Counise Picpoul, Muscardin, Terret Noir, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Roussane, Vaccarese, Picardan)

Cotes du rhone

  • southern rhones largest appellation and base designation for the entire rhone



  • red clay and alluvial soil. The red wines here contain a minimum 50% Grenache, typically blended with syrah and mourvedre



  • usually red, small amount of rose and white is produced


  • Beaumes – de – venise AOP and Vinsobres AOP both produce wine from a minimum of 50% Grenache



  • Similar to the cote du rhone. May be red, white or rose. May see a significant portion of clairette


Tavel AOP

  • south of lirac, this is the only appellation exclusively dedicated to rose. The wines are based on grenahce


Vin doux naturel is a sweet fortified wine that has 2 appellations in the southern rhone


Rasteau AOP

  • the vin doux natural may be white, rose or red. That are based on all 3 colours of Grenache


Muscat de beaumes de Venice

  • Also produced from Muscat petit grains


Provence and Corsica

  • cote de provence is the main appellation uner which provencial wine is bottled
  • must come form the varieties of at least 2. Sinsault, grenach, mouvedre and syrah


Bandol AOP

  • produces red, rose and calirette based wines
  • it is focused on mourvedre grape, a minimum of 50% is blended with grenach and cinsault


Languedoc – Roussillon

  • corbieres – boutenc has achieved appellation status for carigan based wines





  • merlot based, still whites are produced from chardonnay, chenin blanc and mauzac


Languedoc AOP

  • this appellation encompasses all of Languedoc – rousillon. It covers red, white and rose


Rousillon AOP

  • much of this vin doux naturel and are made in an oxidative style


Banyuls AOP

–       Southern most appellation of france where Grenache noir accounts for 50%

–       Banyuls grand cru requires at least 75% and have 30 months in barrel


Southwestern France and the Dordogne


Bergerac AOP

  • produces all 3 colours of wine from Bordeaux varietals

sweet wine appellations

  • Monbazillac
  • Haut-Montravel
  • Saussignac

These are all produced from muscadelle, Semillon and sav blanc


Montravel AOP

  • produce dry style of white and red, Semillon and sav blanc
  • Cahors offers bigger styles of wine made from a minimum 70% malbec with tannat and merlot
  • Gaillac produced from syrah, gamay, fer and duras. The the white grapes being mauzac and mascadelle 

Loire Valley

Whites: Chenin blanc, Sav blanc, Melon de borgone, chardonnay, Orbois, Romorantin, Chasselas


Red Grapes: Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Cab Sav, Malbec


Pays Nantais

  • Produced from muscadet or melon de borgone and has 4 appellations

(Muscadet AOP, Muscadet coteaux de la loire AOP, Muscadet cotes de grandlieu AOP and Muscadet Sevre – et – maine AOP)


Anjou – Saumur

  • Saumur is the easter sub-region of Anjou
  • Saumur is the loires region for sparkling wine
  • Anjou produces dry and sweet interpretations of chenin blanc (Anjou AOP covers all 3 appellations)
  • Savenniers produces very comple interpretations of chenin blanc and this region has 2 grand cru’s
  1. Roche aux moines
  2. Coulee de serrant


  • Coteaux du layon AOP and Coteaux de l’Aubance AOP harvesting in tries is mandatory. Here they hope botrytis will effect the chenin grape
  • Bonnezeaux and quartz de chaume are noteworthy for their high quality of sweet chenin blanc
  • Anjou (north) villages AOP, a red wine only appellation provides some of the finest cabernet franc  and is mixed with a portion of cabernet saviougn
  • Saumur (South) AOP covers red, dry whites, sparkling white and rose wines. Red wines may be made with cabernet franc and sav as well.

Appellations of Anjou – Saumur

–       Bonnezeaux

–       Quarts Du Chaume

–       Savennieres



  • the loires best reds tend to come from chenin AOP and Bourgueil AOP and are made from cabernet franc with a maximum of 10% of cabernet sav
  • Vouvray is tourains most important district for whites made of chenin blanc


The central Vineyards

  • continental climate with dangers of frost. The white grapes are sav blanc (the best in the loire) and pinot noir
  • Sancerre and Pouilly fume both produce the  best interpretations of sav blanc
  • Sancerres soil is silex, terres blanches, caillotes (flint)
  • Pouilly-sur-loire AOP is produced from chasselas
  • Menton – salon AOP , Rueilly and Quincy produce sav blanc 


  • Second in wine production to the Languedoc

Red varieties: Cabernet sav, Merlot(Most planted), Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Carmenere

White Varieties: Samillion, Sav Blanc, Muscadelle, Ugni Blanc, Merlot Blanc


Bordeaux barrel is 225 litre capacity

  • Bordeaux wines with a higher alcohol content may apply for Bordeaux superior
  • Cremant de Bordeaux – appellation for sparkling wine


Climate: climate of Bordeaux is maritime with both the atlantic and Gironde estuary protecting the vines from winter freezes and spring frosts. On the right bank it becomes more continental


Left bank: Medoc

  • The medoc covers the whole left bank of the Gironde estuary. North of St.Estephe is the Bas Medoc – vineyards are sparser and merlot performs better in the water logged clay soil


  • Northern most commune appellation of the haut-medoc
  • Wines are sturdier and full bodied with a slightly higher percentage of merlot


  • gravel topsoil is at its deepest, this is where cabernet sav does its best


  • 80% of the wine here is of cru classe and tend to show a more elegant style of cabernet sav.
  • Followed by the appelations of listrac medo and moulis en medoc


  • rests on thin gravel deposited on limestone tend to be more floral then their counterparts
  • 5 villages include – Soussans, Margaux, cantenac, labarde, arsac

Left Bank: Graves

  • The soil becomes sandier towards the south. Mixture of sand gravel, light clay which is known as boulbenes
  • both dry white and red may be labeled as graves AOP
  • Sub-Appellation Pessac-Leognan was credited for the northern graves becoming a prestige appellation for both red and white
  • Sweet wines may be produced throughout graves as graves superiore

3 appellations exist for sweet wine

  • Cerons (produced from Semillon, Sav Blanc And muscadelle)
  • Barsac (produced from Semillon, Sav Blanc And muscadelle)
  • Sauternes (produced from Semillon, Sav Blanc And muscadelle)

Sauternes covers 5 villages

(Sauternes, barsac, fargues, perignac, bommes)




The Right Bank: St.Emillon and Pomerol

  • the predominant grape in st.emillon and pomerol is merlot followed by cabernet franc



  • St Emillion grand cru in an appellation rather then a classification
  • Wines labeled st.emillion grand cru are required to show an extra .5% alcohol and must undergo a longer ageing then wines labeled St.Emillon AOP
  • The Villages of Lussac, St.George, Montagne, Puisseguin



  • The Soil here is dominated by clay, merolt does extremely well here
  • Chateau le Pin, Chateau Le Fluer and Chateau Petrus


Bourg, Cotes De Bordeaux and Entre – Deux – Mers

  • Chateau Roc De Cambes is one of the better known produces in the bourg
  • Entre – Deux – Mers AOP produces dry white wines exclusively from sav blanc, Semillon, sav gris and muscadelle

Red wines of the Bourg etc: Cab Franc, Cab Sav and Merlot

White Wines: Sav Blanc, Sav Gris, Semillon and Colombard 

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