French Wines

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  • Topic: Chardonnay, Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pages : 9 (2817 words )
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  • Published : February 27, 2011
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French wine is produced in several regions throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year (7 to 8 billion bottles). France has the world's second-largest total vineyard area and competes with Italy for the position of having the world's largest wine production. The wines produced today range from expensive high-end wines sold internationally, to more modest wines usually only seen within France. Two concepts central to higher end French wines are the notion of “terroir”, which links the style of the wines to the specific locations where the grapes are grown and the wine is made, and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Appellation rules closely define which grape varieties and winemaking practices are allowed in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or even specific vineyards. HISTORY:-

French wine originated in the 6th century BCE, with the colonization of Southern Gaul by Greek settlers. Viticulture soon flourished with the founding of the Greek colony of Marseille. The Roman Empire licensed regions in the south to produce wines. St. Martin of Tours (316-397) was actively engaged in both spreading Christianity and planting vineyards. During the middle Ages, monks maintained vineyards and, more importantly, conserved wine-making knowledge and skills during that often turbulent period. Monasteries had the resources, security, and motivation to produce a steady supply of wine both for celebrating mass and generating income. During this time, the best vineyards were owned by the monasteries and their wine was considered to be superior. Over time the nobility developed extensive vineyards. However, the French Revolution led to the confiscation of many of the vineyards owned by the Church and others. The advance of French wine industry stopped abruptly as first Mildew and then Phylloxera spread throughout the country, indeed across all of Europe, leaving vineyards desolate. Following this became an economic downturn in Europe followed by two world wars and French wine industry didn't fully recover for decades. Meanwhile competition had arrived and threatened the treasured French "brands" such as Champagne and Bordeaux. This resulted in the establishing of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée to protect French interests in 1935. Large investments, the economic upturn following World War 2 and a new generation of Vignerons yielded results in the 1970s and the following decades, creating the modern French wines we know today.

France is the source of many grape varieties (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah) that are now planted throughout the world, as well as several wine-making practices and styles of wine that are copied and imitated in other producing countries. Although some producers have benefited in recent years from rising prices and increased demand for some of the prestige wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, the French wine industry as a whole has suffered from a decline in domestic consumption as well as growing competition from both the New World and other European countries. All common styles of wine — red, rosé, white, dry, semi-sweet, sweet, sparkling and fortified — are produced in France. In most of these styles, the French production ranges from cheap and simple versions to some of the world's most famous and expensive examples. An exception is French fortified wines, which tend to be relatively unknown outside France. Numerous grape varieties are cultivated in France, including both internationally well-known and obscure local varieties. In fact, most of the so-called "international varieties" are of French origin, or became known and spread because of their cultivation in France. Since...
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