France has been making wine for centuries, dating back to the 6th century BC. Wine is produced throughout the country in large quantities. France is one of the largest producers of wine in the world, ranking high with Spanish, Italian, and American wine regions.
The cooler temperatures in France produce bright fruit with a high level of acidity. European wines have more nuanced flavors than New World wines because of the climate.
American wines are sweeter and juicier, typically having a higher alcohol content.
French wine is unique in its labeling. Instead of labeling their wine by the grapes, they specify what kind of soil the grapes were grown in. The region the grapes were grown in will change the taste of the wine.
Best French Wines
I am going to take you on a journey of the best French wines I was able to taste during my time abroad in France!
Chateau Cos d’Estournel 2016
Chateau Cos d’Estournel 2016 is a full-bodied, deep wine.
This wine is a blend of 23% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 76% Cabernet Sauvignon.
I loved the blackberry and sandalwood flavors coming through and hitting my palate. It is a dark purple color that is striking on the eyes.
I loved the powerful tannins that showed through in this exotic wine. The acidity comes from rich black plum and black currant flavors.
Exotic spices take your palate to another place while experiencing all of the rich flavors. I highly recommend this wine!
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 2020
Get ready to get your swirling fingers on!
The full flavors of Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 2020 come through with coaxing and swirling, revealing scents of Morello cherries, crushed black currants, wild blueberries, and violets on the forest floor.
This wine is 48.6% Merlot, 8.2% Cabernet Franc, and 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon. Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 2020 boasts an alcohol content of 14.7%.
My favorite part about this wine was how it teased your palate with its lightly spiced entry.
When you taste, hints of dark chocolate are layered in between the dark fruity and spiced flavors.
Ground coffee flavors then come in on this seductive wine. It was one of my favorites from my trip!
Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2016
This wine blend is composed of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot. My palate was very pleased tasting this wine.
Flavors of black currants, tobacco, graphite, crushed berries, and rose hip tea came through all at once in this flavorful wine.
Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2016 is a medium-bodied wine that is a deep purple-black color. Ripe tannins, density, and richness give this wine a special touch.
This wine has a high acidity level along with a sweetness from the fruit. It is dense and powerful in flavor and is sure to be a favorite on your next night in with friends. I know I will be showing this wine to my friends!
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2020
After swirling my glass of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2020 I got wafts of black and red fruit flavors.
Along with the fruit flavors were a range of spices. Licorice and star anise were among the smooth notes that came through.
High-quality tannins are added to the full body of this wine. Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2020 is composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. It is aged in new barriques.
Dark purple hues make up the look of this incredible wine. This wine is intense in flavor but subtle at the same time with floral notes.
Patrick Bottex Bugey Cerdon Rose La Cueille
Patrick Bottex Bugey Cerdon Rose La Cueille has notes of fresh lingonberries, candied rose petals, and pink grapefruit. It was one of my favorites, yet surprising wines from my trip!
This wine is a blend of Gamay and Poulsard from a space of hilly beauty between Savoie, the Jura, and Lyon. The area is called Cerdon cru of the Bugey.
This wine is bottled before fermentation is finished. This kind of bottling is called the “ancestral method” and it helps with achieving the right amount of sweetness and bubbliness.
My favorite way to enjoy Patrick Bottex Bugey Cerdon Rose La Cueille was alongside a plate of Thai food and a dessert of hazelnut cake.
Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé
I had to take a break from all of the dark, deep wines and try some Rose.
Taittinger Brut Prestige Rose is a blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes. This champagne is one of the crispest and most refreshing roses I have ever had!
This wine is an intense cherry-pink color that looks as good with the eyes as it tastes with the tongue.
Red raspberries and ripe strawberries will overtake your mouth with the first sip. Its bubbly bite is the perfect way to celebrate!
Undertones of apple and vanilla shine through, giving it a deeper flavor than some roses I have tried in the past.
Camille Giroud Chambertin Grand Cru 2005
Camille Giroud Chambertin Grand Cru 2005 is made from de-stemmed grapes and aged for 18 months in a 50% new oak barrel.
It is then racked once and settles in a stainless steel tank for three months.
It boasts a dark purple-red hue and pungent aroma. My favorite part was the taste of black raspberry mixed with a minerality like no other wine and a slight taste of bone marrow.
In the end, notes of black licorice, wet stones, and wild mushrooms came in.
This tasty wine is excellent on its own, but it also goes well with cheese or even dinner. It was one of the most unique wines I tasted on the trip!
My nose was the first thing to experience Dom Perignon.
A mixture of fruit, flowers, vegetation, and minerals tickled my senses. These scents were followed by hints of fresh mint, rhubarb, and the spiciness of white pepper.
Once Dom Perignon entered my mouth, an explosion of acidic and bitter notes hit my palate. Notes of fresh fruit, citrus, herbs, licorice, and a hint of smokiness surrounded my mouth.
This intense wine is perfect for a wake-me-up when it comes to flavor! It is a structured yet elegant wine to enjoy on a night out.
This wine comes from the Champagne domain of France.
Hailing from Bordeaux, France, Fleur Petrus boasts flavor.
My mouth experienced an array of flavors of dark chocolate, dark berries, and hints of cedarwood. It is a medium to full-bodied wine with tight tannins.
Fleur Petrus is composed of 5% Cabernet Franc, 93% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. Its deep ruby red and purple color gives it a luscious look to the eyes.
Notes of black raspberry, floral flavors, spices, woody oak, and polished tannins give Fleur Petrus a distinct flavor.
This warm wine was perfect on my night out with my husband enjoying the beautiful views of France.
We enjoyed the unique flavors of this French wine on one of our last nights in Europe.
Laherte Frères Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Champagne N.V.
Grapes from the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay makeup Laherte Freres Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Champagne N.V.
My first sip gave notes of nougat, crisp green apple, Meyer lemon, and fresh bread.
The citrus gives this wine a tangy acidic flavor. Salinity makes up a long finish to this vintage wine.
Jean-Baptiste Laherte founded the Laherte estate in 1889, which was later expanded by Michel Laherte.
Michel married Cecile Tissier who taught their two sons the education of being a vinegrower. Our visit to the Laherte estate gave us some of the best wine of our trip!
Louis Roederer Brut Premier
Louis Roederer’s Brut Premier is his most popular wine.
Louis Roederer is known for having the world’s greatest Champagnes since 1776. This world-famous wine is composed of 42% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 18% Meunier.
This Brut Premier boasts notes of fresh peaches and ripe lemons. It is a pure wine with no gimmicks, going straight to the core flavors.
Louis Roederer Brut Premier is a medium to full-bodied wine. It is rich in texture and offers a balanced wine to sip on.
Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling 2011
Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling 2011 is one of my favorite golden wines.
It is made up of bright fruits like apricots, sweet nectarine, fresh pineapple, and candied peaches. It is a full-bodied and intense wine.
This wine balances acidity and fruitiness with elegance. It pairs well with fusion cuisines.
Best French Wines
- Chateau Cos d’Estournel 2016
- Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 2020
- Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2016
- Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2020
- Patrick Bottex Bugey Cerdon Rose La Cueille
- Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé
- Camille Giroud Chambertin Grand Cru 2005
- Dom Perignon
- Fleur Petrus
- Laherte Frères Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Champagne N.V.
- Louis Roederer Brut Premier
- Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling 2011
Whether you are planning a trip to France or simply wanting to try some great wines, I hope my list of the best French wines helps you out! Pair these wines with classic French food.
Go through this list and pick out your top three wines to try. Be diligent in trying those three wines, then branch out and try new wines. After experiencing the new flavors, make your list of your favorite French wines!
If you want to learn more about wine, check out the best sweet red wines on our list!
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