French wine has a rich history. For centuries, people have enjoyed it in victory and defeat, on the most memorable occasions, and with close friends at home. Wines from France have a je ne sais quoi that makes us imagine grand galas, fine-dining settings, and pompous parties; and this happens even today!
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French wines are exclusive, and not because they’re expensive (most of them aren’t!) but because you have to know a little about them to understand what you’re getting.
Wines from France are rarely labeled with the grape they’re made of, so how can you tell if is it sweet or dry? If it’s zesty or creamy? That’s why we created this guide — to tell you about the most famous French white wines and how they taste. You’ll be ordering the stuff like a pro in no time, so get your corkscrew ready and let’s plunge right in.
France is divided into wine regions, and every region specializes in a few grapes and styles. Mastering those stiles means mastering the undecipherable wine lists in the fanciest of restaurants. These are the most important ones:
This large piece of land runs across all France from East to West along the Loire river. This is mostly a white wine country, and it all starts with Muscadet.
Muscadet is not the name of a grape or anything; It’s just the name of a very famous wine known for its crisp and fresh personality. Muscadet is superb with scallops, sushi, or oysters, and it’s a great value! Often inexpensive, this wine is ideal for opening the appetite and starting the night off the right way.
A few miles inland, you’ll find white wines made with Chenin Blanc. Labeled with names of towns like Savennières, Vouvray, Saumur, or Anjou, you must pop open some of these to find what they’re all about. They can be bone dry, slightly sweet, or downright luscious!
Finally, you arrive in the Sauvignon Blanc kingdom. Labeled as Pouilly Fumé or Sancerre, these are some of the most friendly, lively, and mineral white wines in France. If you’ve tried Sauv Blanc before, you’ll love these. They’re excellent with white fish, goat cheese, and light dishes.
The region is better known for its age-worthy reds, but there are excellent value white wines too. Made with Semillon, often blended with Sauvignon Blanc. Bordeaux Blanc is a medium-bodied and full of citrus, gooseberries, and fresh-cut grass flavors.
Sauternes is a regional specialty. One of the most exclusive sweet white wines in the world, this one is reserved for special celebrations. Sauternes goes fine with mildly sweet desserts, and blue cheese (you’ll be surprised!) Be prepared to pay a premium.
Bordering Germany, this place is as German as it is French, and like German wine regions, white wine rules. Luckily, Alsace DO label their wines with the grape variety used, so wines here are an easy buy.
Pick a wine made with Riesling for citrus aromas and a unique character. Find yourself a Gewurztraminer for a mild, sweet palate and a lovely bouquet of white flowers and rose petals. Quality here is always above average.
Oh, Burgundy! The spiritual home of the all-too-familiar Chardonnay. Wines here might be more expensive, but you’re buying the good stuff. Labeled Chablis, Chardonnay will be citric, mineral, and crisp. They’re perfect for seafood and seashells.
Labeled any other way, like Bourgogne, Meursault, or Pouilly Fuissé, Chardonnay is full-bodied and has oaky aromas. These are better for white meat, poultry, and even buttered lobster.
Check for Premier Cru and Grand Cru designations; these are la crème de la crème.
I think you’ve got it: French white wines are varied and complex, and you must study a bit to get them. There are so many grapes, styles, and flavors that there’s something for every occasion and cuisine. From the finest of bubbles to the richest, sweet treats, wines from France always deliver.
Knowing your French wines shows confidence; knowledge puts you in charge, and you know what? They taste great! And, these are only a few French white wines benefits for women.
Try a few French wines and find your favorites. Then, enjoy them with your friends and family; there’s nothing more important than sharing your passion with the people you love.