France has historically been one of the oldest and most prolific wine producing regions in the world. Statistically, France produces the most wine by value, though it is rivaled in other ways by Italy (most wine by volume) and Spain (most land under cultivation). The four major red grapes used to make French wine are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Each of these grapes has different flavor characteristics and produce different styles of red wine.
[...] Although the grape boasts a reputation for complexity, the taste of the wine lives up to the hype. The romance and mystery behind what is known about the grapes characteristics prove to me metaphors for what it does to the palette The last of the four major grapes is the Syrah. The grape itself is an offspring of a couple lesser known varieties, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. The grape is said to have come to Europe via the crusades in the early 1200's. [...]
[...] The Rolland appellation comes from grapes that are allowed to slightly over-ripen, which adds a fruity body to the wine. The Merlot grape tends to produce a wine that shares some aromatic characteristics with Cabernet Sauvignon, which is another reason why the wines tend to compliment each other so well. Aside from hints of blackcurrant and violet, Merlot also gives of shades of plum, clove and green olive. It is those scents that it's light, herbal tone. In the Burgundy region of France, it is the Pinot Noir grape that is king. [...]
[...] "The Grapes of France." French Duck Oct < http://www.frenchduck.co.uk/index.html>. Sanderson, B. Master Class in Cabernet." Wine Spectator May 2007. Johnson, Hugh and Jancis Robinson. The World Atlas of Wine: Fifth Edition. London: Mitchell Beazley Macneil, K. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman "An Introduction to French Wine." French EntréE Oct < http://www.frenchentree.com/france-lot-quercy/>. Johnson, Hugh and Jancis Robinson. The World Atlas of Wine: Fifth Edition. London: Mitchell Beazley Lamar, Jim. "Merlot." Professional Friends of Wine Oct < http://www.winepros.org/wine101/grape_profiles/merlot.htm>. Johnson, Hugh and Jancis Robinson. [...]
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