French Wine, Champagne, and Liqueurs
Explaining everything about French wine, Champagne and liqueurs on one little webpage would be impossible. Actually you could not even begin to do it in a book. The very best way to begin learning about this fascinating and tasty subject is to buy a few bottles and start tasting. However, it does help to have a few basic ideas before getting started. Any time you add knowledge to your experience, you greatly enhance your appreciation and awareness of the experience. This is particularly true with French wine, champagne and food.
French Wine Regions
Understanding TerroirFrench wine is produced and bottled with consideration for where the grapes were grown. The concept of terroir , which is based on geographical position, is an essential consideration in the making of wine in France. French wine labels will note where the wine was grown rather than the particular types of grapes that were used in its elaboration. This is quite different from other places in the world. So to understand French wine you must begin by understanding a little of French geography. France can be divided into 11 distinct wine regions : Champagne, Alsace, Bourgogne, Loire, Jura, Bordeaux, Rhone-Alpes, Sud Oeust, Langedoc-Roussillon, Provence and Corse.
French Wine, Champagne LabelsSo great, you say, all I need to do is look on the label and see which region it is from. Ah, but that would be too simple. Instead each region is further divided up into lots of tiny regions and each of these is what goes on the label, generally with no mention of the larger region. Alsace wine, which is classified by type of grape, is an exception to this way of labeling. Learn more about French Wine Labels . It can be a very fun game to learn where the sub wine region is. Once you learn a sub region, you are not likely to forget it. For example, you enjoy a couple different bottles of Sauternes wine , and forever after you have a good idea what that sort of French wine tastes like. There are of course good bottles and not so good bottles, but they will all be similar in nature. Learn more about wine by having a look at some of these other pages on Easy French Food:
Celebrate a Little Something
Making ChampagneThe grapes used to make Champagne wine are Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. These grapes do not fully ripen in the harsher northern climate of this part of France. For a long time the wine made in this region was not too good - you need a minimal amount of sugar to a get a decent wine. Champagne history tells us that it was in the 18th century that wine makers fully developed the technique of adding a bit of sugar to the bottle before sealing it. This made up for the lack of sugar from the grapes, but it also encouraged a second fermentation and gave Champagne all of its fizzy goodness.
Champagne TypesChampagne is labelled according to how much sugar has been added to the wine:
Champagne Bottle SizesOne fun thing about Champagne is that it does not come in just one boring size. Many people think that a magnum, which is two times the size of the typical wine bottle, is the very best way to bottle bubbly wine. But there are many other Champagne bottle sizes .
Enjoy Sip by Tiny Sip
French liqueurs are truly glorious in flavor, history and even mystique. Many of these liqueurs are known the world over: Grande Marnier, Chartreuse, Benedectine, crème de cassis , Chambord , and others. In France these are typically enjoyed in small quantities after dinner when a little sweet something might be appreciated. They are also used frequently in recipes to add flavor, punch and sweetness. The makers of these liqueurs like to market their products with all sorts of horrific sounding cocktails. However, if it is a quality product, it is probably best enjoyed in a more simple fashion.
Selecting LiqueursConsiderable care goes into making a quality liqueur. Only the best fruits and other ingredients are used. Always look at the label when spending money on a liqueur - many of them are mostly sugar syrup and alcohol, with only fruit flavoring. Look for real fruit - not flavoring. In some cases it should be the first ingredient. Learn more about French liqueurs . Learn more about French brandy . Return to Easy French Food
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