French wine, or rather French wines as there are so many, are extremely famous both in France and abroad. All the names, all the regions of France, and all the types available can be quite confusing. No worries, if you are new to wine, especially French wine, this guide is here to help you. How to choose your wine, how to store it, how to taste it and what to eat with it: all our suggestions to pick and drink the French wine of your dreams and enjoy it
1. How to choose and store the wine
First of all, you want to know the different between red wine, white wine and rosé wine. If you are new to wine,the one thing you must know is that rosé wine is not made of a mix of red and white wine. (Nope.)
French people are very proud of their wine: wine is very important in France, and a few decades ago, there was always a bottle of wine at the dinner table. To put it simply - as it is much more complicated than that - French wine comes primarily (but not only) from 4 regions in France: Alsace, the Loire Valley, the South-West (Sud-Ouest) and the Mediterranean coast.
How to choose wine
I would love to recommend more specific wine appellations, but, as I said, everybody has different tastes and most importantly these French wines might not be available (or cheap) where you live. If you ever come to France and want to try French wine, you might get a little dizzy from all the different bottles available!
If you are looking for a sweet French wine, the Monbazillac white wine and the the Côteaux du Layon white wine are very popular choices in France. If you are looking for a dry wine, an Alsace Rieseling could be the one for you.
The best option to pick just the right wine for you, however, would be to go to a specialized wine shop and ask for advice from the sommelier, who will recommend a bottle that should suit your taste best.
How to store wine
Now, obviously, not everyone has a cave to keep their wine bottles. Don’t worry, you don’t need one! Here are some tips and advice to store your wine and enjoy it at its best! You should drink red wine at room temperature, so don’t put it in the fridge! (Except if it’s really hot in the house, then put it the fridge for a few minutes before serving). However, you should put rosé and white wine in the fridge and take they out a few minutes before serving for them to reach the ideal temperature.
2. How to serve and taste the wine like a pro
No need to have special glasses for every kind of wine, the regular wine glass, which is slightly larger at the bottom and slightly smaller at the top, is the perfect glass!
Once you have poured your glass of wine, there are 3 steps to assert the quality of the wine and taste it. For that you will be using your eyes, then your nose, and finally your mouth.
Step 1: Visual test
Look at your wine in the glass. First of all, a good quality wine should be limpid and no residue should be dancing in your glass. You could also guess the approximate age of the wine by looking at it! For example, a very light white will most likely be a young wine and gold or yellow will likely be an older wine that has matured for a few years!
Step 2: Olfactory test
Approach the glass to your nose and sniff the wine. This smell is the "first nose", the first impression you get from the wine. Then swirl the wine around the glass. A new smell will be released! This step is called the "second nose". Depending on the wine in your glass, you could smell flowers, berries, wood, nuts, even grapefruit!
Step 3: Taste test
This step is the one where you finally get to drink the wine. The “taste test” is rather easy: drink a little wine and analyze the flavors. Is it sweet? Is it bitter? Does it taste fruitier, woodier, or more nutty? It’s rather hard to know whether a wine is a “good” wine or not (except maybe from the price) when you’re not an expert. Let’s be honest, there are (very) few of us who are oenologist but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate wine.
3. What to eat with the wine
Is there any better sound than the “pop” of newly opened bottle of wine? Drinking a glass of wine with your meal is always a pleasure, but if you don’t know what kind of wine goes with which dish, your meal can quickly turn into a disaster. While red wine goes well with red meat (beef, lamb, pork...), white wine goes best with veal, chicken and turkey. If you’re not much of a meat eater, just remember that white wine is perfect paired with a salad! And if you feel like having a glass of wine with your dessert: a piece of chocolate cake or of tart, and a bowl of fresh fruit salad are best enjoyed with a glass of white wine as well!
But if you don’t feel like cooking at all, a cheese platter will do nicely! No idea on what to put on your platter? As it happens, we have a handy article on how to make the perfect cheese platter at home