3 things you may not know about French wine
Happy Bastille Day, wine lovers! Are you a lover of French wines? Or do you rarely drink French fluently? Here are three things you may not know about French wine!
1. Geography is more important than variety
France produces some of the best & most recognisably named wines in the world – including Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux & Sancerre (as a start!). But all these are named and labelled after the geographical regions they come from and NOT the variety – like we do here. Regionality is considered more important than variety. Because the system of French wine production is so regulated, you just have to “know” that Sancerre is Sauvignon Blanc and Burgundy is Pinot Noir and that Champagne can only be made using three sorts of grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. Each region is restricted by laws to produce only those varieties.
2. They’re not the biggest producer
And they produce a LOT. Approximately 550 million cases per year. Which is about five times more than Australia. That’s around 7.5 BILLION bottles of wine every year. But they are are NOT the largest producers – a commonly held belief. That crown is currently worn by Italy!
3. The oldest vines of French grape varieties aren’t in France
Back in 1860, a microscopic insect called Phylloxera brought France’s wine industry to its knees, destroying more than half the vineyards in the country. Only rootstock supplied by New World wine regions like the USA helped save the day and get the industry going again. As a result of the devastation, it’s actually Australia that lays claim to having the oldest vines of French grape varieties in the world – including Syrah (Shiraz), Mourvèdre (Mataro), Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marsanne and Semillon.
Will you pop something French in your glass this eve? How will you celebrate France’s national day? Santé! 🥂