Champagne! That word brings to mind festive celebrations filled with cheer and visions of the golden fizzy drink that graces the occasion. Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux all these are in fact regions in France where these world famous drinks are produced. France is the most influential in the wine-world, and its wines have decorated tables around the globe and dominated palates for centuries. Its wine-making history has its roots in the ancient Roman times.
Currently France is the second in wine production, but boasts of the best quality of wines. French winemaking is the accepted procedure for wine-producing countries of the world. France produces all kinds of wines, from the cheap table wines to the expensive vintages. Rare vintages are most sought after, and are a collector’s item with prices of thousands of dollars for a bottle.
French wine is an integral part of the French identity and pride, as demonstrated by the wines having more of a regional than a national identity. Different regions have their own classification systems, particular grape varieties, and special production methods which is many layered and complex.
The qualities and prices depend on the kind of wines: some are made for immediate consumption while others are kept for a long time in cellars. Typical styles have been developed to accompany different kinds of meals, be it a quick snack type meal, a cafe meal or a multi-course menu in a sophisticated restaurant. Recently “bar wines” have been developed for drinking alone unaccompanied by any food. All kinds of wines are available, to suit the most exacting gastronomy.
French wine can be red, rose or white, and come in dry, semi-sweet or sweet varieties. They are further available as sparkling or fortified. Labels on the bottles indicate the potentiality of the wine, carrying information on the region where the grapes were produced, how it was bottled (on the field, on the estate, or using traded grapes), and also the blends that are used in the wine. For example, a distinctive mark called “Vigneron independent” is used by the wine-make to distinguish their wine from larger corporate winemaking companies, and emphasizes a return to the traditional basic of the wine-making craft. A special logo is printed on the foil cap covering the cork of the independent wine-makers.
Research suggests tremendous health benefits from wines, especially red wine. The French, who are traditional wine drinkers have very low heart disease rate which is attributed to the chemical called procyanidins which do not allow the blood vessels to constrict. The highest levels of procyanidins are found in the red wines from south of France and Sardinia in Italy. Apart from this, the wines have antioxidants, suppress some strains of bacteria, and have cancer-alleviating properties.
The French have been the largest consumers on their own wines, and the consumption has been dropping due to the lowering of the per capita income. The winemakers therefore have had to rely on exports and there too, they have been facing severe competition with many new productions emerging from different parts of the world. wine tours from portland oregon