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The Greatest French Crimson Wine Varieties & Wine Pairings

The Greatest French Crimson Wine Varieties & Wine Pairings


France is the house to a few of the greatest crimson wine varieties throughout the globe and French crimson wines are thought of a benchmark for worldwide wine producers. France is a large nation with wine areas stretching from North to South. This permits French wine makers and grapes to expertise and experiment with completely different soils and climates.

On this article, we’re going to focus on the most effective French Crimson wines, undergo an important grape varieties used for French wine and lastly speak about French crimson wine pairing. 

French Crimson grape varieties

Grapes have been grown in France sine the Romans realized how appropriate the soil was, and probably centuries sooner than that. Throughout the Center Ages a brand new system of land improvement meant that extra areas of the countryside got over to wine manufacturing and the nation’s wine business reached a interval of prosperity.  

A number of French crimson grape varieties are acclaimed internationally. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah are solely a few of the most necessary. And these grape varieties can now be discovered from the US to Australia.


Cabernet Sauvignon might be the most well-liked crimson grape selection because it produces a high-quality and stylish crimson wine with an unimaginable growing older potential.

Wines produced from Cabernet Sauvignon are typically excessive in tannins and acidity, with black fruits aromas like blackberries and plums mixed with greenish notes of tomato leaf and crimson pepper that can combine because of the growing older course of.

These wines are generally aged in oak to smoothen the tannins whereas including vanilla and smoky flavors to make the wine much more advanced. 


Merlot is the second most necessary crimson grape selection from France and helps produce a few of the best wines of your complete world. This selection can be known as a “sugar manufacturing facility” as a result of it’s early-ripening and produces excessive quantities of sugar – particularly in heat to scorching climates.

Wines produced from Merlot are inclined to have an excessive alcohol content material and total smoothness. It’s characterised by ripe fruity aromas of redcurrant, cherries, plums and cinnamon.

Merlot is usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to smoothen the excessive tannins and acidity of this grape selection, serving to with its fruitiness and excessive alcohol content material.

Pinot Noir

Lastly, the Pinot Noir grape selection is without doubt one of the most planted crimson grape varieties on this planet. It originates from France, probably from Burgundy.

It’s thought of as one of the elegant crimson grape varieties and it is ready to produce long-living wines that may simply age for greater than 30 years.

Pinot Noir wines are inclined to have a pale crimson ruby shade, with excessive but built-in tannins and a posh fragrant profile: crimson fruits and candy spices if drunk younger. Aged Pinot Noir shows mushroom, smoke and plum aromas, and additional complexity.

Bordeaux Area

Dry crimson wines from Bordeaux symbolize the apex of the crimson wine manufacturing of your complete world. These wines are in a position to maintain an growing older course of that may simply exceed 40 years.

The so known as “Bordeaux Mix” is made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and different indigenous crimson grape varieties in small share, identical to Malbec and Petit Verdot.

As already talked about, the mix between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon creates the proper stability as a result of the Cabernet Sauvignon brings tannins, acidity and highly effective black fruit aromatics, whereas Merlot brings alcohol and smoothness balancing the complexity of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

These crimson French wines typically age in new French oak barriques (225L barrels), wherein the wine has the time to smoothen its tannins, combine the completely different flavors and changing into increasingly more advanced. 

The best and costliest of those are the crimson wines are from the good châteaux discovered within the Haut-Médoc space and the Proper Financial institution appellations of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol (see areas under).

Haut Medoc is characterised by a predominance of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. The soil within the Haut-Médoc area is principally composed of thick gravel layers which have been swept down river over time and now sit on a base of heavy clay. The nice and cozy, well-drained gravel terraces present excellent rising circumstances for the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Additional inland, on the Proper financial institution, the soils flip to deep deposits of clay. The Merlot grape selection thrives in such locations.

In current many years it has largely usurped Cabernet Sauvignon in these components of the Médoc. Patches of limestone and sandier soils add range to the extra broadly unfold gravels, which in any other case dominate the terroir.

In contrast to the wines of the Médoc which might be centered on Cabernet Sauvignon, Saint-Émilion wines are predominantly created from Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The clay and chalk wealthy soils round Saint-Émilion are typically cooler than these on the Médoc peninsula and are much less free-draining (they hold way more water), and are much less able to ripening Cabernet Sauvignon reliably.

Merlot makes up round two thirds of vines planted round Saint-Émilion, and continues to extend in reputation due to the softer, extra approachable wine kinds it produces.

Burgundy Area

Burgundy crimson wines symbolize a very completely different model in comparison with the Bordeaux ones due to the class of the Pinot Noir grape selection.

Burgundy is positioned inland, removed from the coast, and it has a selected local weather that creates the best circumstances to develop this grape. Right here, we discover a average continental local weather with dry and heat autumns that assist to develop absolutely the bunches of Pinot Noir.

The highest quality crimson wines from Burgundy are produced within the Northern a part of the areas, known as “Côtes de Nuits.” Burgundy is residence to a few of the highest-quality and costliest wines of the world corresponding to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the place a bottle of this crimson wine ranges within the tens of hundreds of {dollars} to acquire. 

Wine manufacturing in Burgundy operates in three distinct methods:

  • The primary is thru negoçiants, who purchase the grapes or wine from a number of smaller producers and promote it beneath their very own names.
  • The second is through co-operatives: organized teams of grape-growers who pool their assets to ascertain a vineyard for collective use.
  • The third technique entails wine producers who personal each the vineyards and their very own vineyard. 

Crimson wines from Burgundy produced from Pinot Noir are sometimes aged in oak barrels and so they are inclined to have an unimaginable growing older potential, identical to the Bordeaux wines. The tannins of Pinot Noir assist the wine to keep up its fruitiness, balanced by the tertiary aromas of mushrooms and forest ground developed throughout the growing older course of. 

Different varieties and terroirs

One other key French area is Rhone Valley, the place Syrah and Grenache discover their homeland. These are two of the most well-liked crimson grape varieties, grown all around the world from Australia to South Africa.

Syrah is usually grown within the Northern a part of the Rhone Valley, the place the local weather is cooler with increased rainfall ranges. Syrah from this areas produces wines with darkish ruby shade, excessive tannins and black fruit aromas mixed with a transparent darkish pepper word.

On the Southern facet of the Rhone Valley Grenache is broadly grown, right here the local weather is drier and hotter and it’s excellent for a late-ripening selection corresponding to Grenache. Wines produced from Grenache are typically clean, with excessive but built-in tannins and crimson fruits aromas.

For all these causes, these two grape varieties are sometimes blended collectively to create a balanced and long-living wine.

Different indigenous grapes from this space are sometimes blended, identical to Mourvedre, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon. Rhone Valley mix is usually known as GSM, an acronym discovered on the label, that merely means Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre, the three principal grape styles of the mix.

Then, clean and balanced crimson wines are produced within the heat wine area of Provence, the place the Mediterranean local weather helps Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes to ripen absolutely to provide prime quality crimson wines that don’t want an extended growing older course of. Conventional varieties corresponding to Carignan, Barbaroux and Calitor has been changed by extra commercially viable grapes like Grenache, Syrah and the already talked about Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 

Greatest French Crimson Wine & Meals Pairing

Highly effective and tannic crimson wines from Bordeaux, but in addition GSM or single selection Syrahs from Rhone Valley, are completely fitted to meat recipes normally.

Bordeaux aged crimson wines are excellent to be paired with wild animal meats corresponding to wild boar or deer meat.

The Bordeaux wines go effectively with braised and slow-cooked meat, due to the tannins that stability the smoothness and the fattiness of this model of recipes.

Photograph Credit score: Lefteris Kallergis – Unsplash

Due to the class of Pinot Noir, it might probably simply be paired with gourmand recipes present in Michelin-starred eating places. Pinot noir has excessive, but clean tannins, elegant crimson fruit flavors that pair properly with fatty fish recipes or with salmon or grilled tuna, representing a flexible alternative for the chef or the sommelier.

The meals and wine pairings clearly change with the growing older of the chosen wine. The truth is, a younger French crimson wine tends to be excessive in acidity and tannins – good to be paired with fats meals that shall be balanced by the wine. Conversely, lengthy aged crimson wines could be paired with gourmand dishes that don’t exceed in fats or in smoothness, serving to to boost the stability of the dish itself.


I hope this text addressed the Greatest French crimson wine varieties and enable you perceive a few of the greatest crimson wines that France has to supply. Now for the enjoyable half – going to try to pattern a few of them till you discover a handful of private favorites. 

To be taught extra about French Crimson Wines and French Wine pairing, take a look at our French Meals & Wine web page.