French White Wines

France offers the most varied selection of white wines of any country in the world: it’s all in the geography, and the complex matrix of north-south and east-west.

It’s not just a matter of the north being cool and the south hot; it’s the difference between maritime influenced climates to the west and continental climates to the east.

For example, despite being far north Alsace is surprisingly dry - Strasbourg is the second driest city in France after Perpignan! - protected as it is by the Vosges mountains to the west, and enjoys a pretty hot summer. By contrast Bordeaux, right on the bay of Biscay, can be on the receiving end of weather not dissimilar to Cornwall. Then there are regions cooled by proximity to mountains - Jurancon and Limoux, for example, both just north of the Pyrenees; and there’s the really hot zone along the Med in the arc from Marseille to Perpignan.

On the whole each region of France has its own cluster of grape varieties, best suited to its climate and soils: for example the Loire has Sauvignon Blanc grown in the eastern vineyards on calcareous soils, Chenin Blanc in the middle on tufa, and Melon de Bourgogne on the granitic vineyards of Muscadet. Bordeaux has Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon; Burgundy, Chardonnay; and in Alsace there is a bunch of grapes which are also grown in neighbouring Germany and Northern Italy: Pinot Gris (Grigio), Pinot Blanc (Bianco), Gewurtztraminer, plus Riesling. Throughout the Rhône valley, Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon the best results are with grapes able to take the summer heat: Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Rolle (Vermentino) and Macabeu. (Where Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are planted in the south the results tend, with few exceptions, to be poor). Then there are all sorts of weird and wonderful white grapes grown in the outlying areas, such as south-west France (Petit and Gros Manseng among others), Savoie and Jura.

When one considers that many of these wines come in unoaked and oaked styles, the diversity is breathtaking!

Domaine Faiveley, Rully, Les Villeranges, 2019

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Domaine Faiveley, Rully, Les Villeranges, 2019

Half is barrel-fermented and aged in barrel (10% new), giving honeyed notes to the fruit....

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV14%

Bottle75cl

CodeFAJ419

GrapeChardonnay

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Jean Marie Chaland, Macon-Villages, Les Tilles, 2019

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Jean Marie Chaland, Macon-Villages, Les Tilles, 2019

From a small, half a hectare parcel, on clay and limestone planted in the late 1960s....

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeSAB119

GrapeChardonnay

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Climens, Barsac, France, Half Bottle, 2009
Jancis Robinson

Climens is unquestionably the finest Sauternes producer after Yquem – but only a quarter of...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBordeaux

ColourWhite

ABV13.5%

Half Bottle37.5cl

CodeCLI109

GrapeSemillon

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Kalian Bernasse, Monbazillac, France, Half Bottle, 2017

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Kalian Bernasse, Monbazillac, France, Half Bottle, 2017

Organically farmed and certified; from grapes picked in several passages through the Griaud...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionSouth-West

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle37.5cl

CodeKAL117

GrapeSemillon & Muscadelle

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Kalian Bernasse, Monbazillac, France, 2017

Organically farmed and certified; from grapes picked in several passages through the Griaud...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionSouth-West

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeKAL1217

GrapeSemillon & Muscadelle

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Chateau de la Liquiere, Faugeres Blanc, Cuvee Cistus, 2020

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Decanter
Chateau de la Liquiere, Faugeres Blanc, Cuvee Cistus, 2020

"Château de la Liquière’s schist vineyards sit in the highest parts of the Faugères...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionLanguedoc-Roussillon

ColourWhite

ABV13.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeLIQ720

GrapeRoussanne, Vermentino & Grenache Blanc

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Domaine des Forges, Coteaux du Layon St Aubin, 2021

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Domaine des Forges, Coteaux du Layon St Aubin, 2021
Domaine des Forges, Coteaux du Layon St Aubin, 2021

Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné lies between the Loire and Layon rivers. This late picked Chenin Blanc...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionLoire

ColourWhite

ABV12%

Bottle75cl

CodeFOR621

GrapeChenin Blanc

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Amadieu, Cairanne Blanc, Haut de Beauregard, 2019

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Amadieu, Cairanne Blanc, Haut de Beauregard, 2019

Roussanne, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Viognier, barrel fermented and aged in a mix of...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionRhone

ColourWhite

ABV14%

Bottle75cl

CodeAMB619

GrapeWhite blend

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Domaine Fourrey, Chablis, 1er Cru Mont de Milieu, 2019

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Domaine Fourrey, Chablis, 1er Cru Mont de Milieu, 2019

Mont de Milieu is a hillside vineyard facing south and south-east, and as such the vines are...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV12.5%

Bottle75

CodeFRR519

GrapeChardonnay

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Domaine Fourrey, Chablis 1er Cru, Cote du Lechet, 2019

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Domaine Fourrey, Chablis 1er Cru, Cote du Lechet, 2019

The Fourreys own a healthy 3.60 hectares of Côte de Lechet, divided amongst six plots over the...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV12.5%

Bottle75

CodeFRR719

GrapeChardonnay

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Mas d'Agamas, Marsanne, IGP Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, 2021

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Mas d'Agamas, Marsanne, IGP Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, 2021

A look alike for a Northern Rhône wine. Very elegant and aromatic. Attractive notes of pear...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeAGA621

GrapeMarsanne

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Château de la Liquière, Faugères,  Amandiers Blanc, 2021

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Jancis Robinson
Château de la Liquière, Faugères, Amandiers Blanc, 2021

This is from a vineyard planted on some of their highest land about forty years ago; a blend of...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionLanguedoc-Roussillon

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeLIQ621

GrapeRoussanne, Granache Blanc & Marsanne

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