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!

Antoine et Laurent Robin, Chablis Grand Cru, Blanchots,  2021

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Jancis Robinson
Antoine et Laurent Robin, Chablis Grand Cru, Blanchots, 2021

Blanchots is the sole south-east facing Grand Cru, giving a longer ripening season – and...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV 12.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeROB621

GrapeChardonnay

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Lequin-Colin, Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru,  2019

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Lequin-Colin, Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, 2019

From the south facing lieu-dit Languettes.To our surprise this was noticeably moreopen than...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeLEQ019

GrapeChardonnay

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Lequin-Colin, Bourgogne Chardonnay, Back to the Roots, 2021

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Jancis Robinson
Lequin-Colin, Bourgogne Chardonnay, Back to the Roots, 2021

From two vineyard plots bordering Santenay. 100% barrel fermented, with 10% new oak; and given...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV12.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeLEQ521

GrapeChardonnay

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Domaine Faiveley, Mercurey Clos Rochette, 2021

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Domaine Faiveley, Mercurey Clos Rochette, 2021

Wholly owned by the family since 1933, a stony and rocky vineyard, hence the name. About 55% in...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeFAJ121

GrapeChardonnay

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Fourrey, Chablis 1er Cru, Côte de Lechet, 2021

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Fourrey, Chablis 1er Cru, Côte de Lechet, 2021

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

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV %

Bottle75cl

CodeFRR721

GrapeChardonnay

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L'Estabel, Clairette de Languedoc, Fulcrand Cabanon, 2023

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L'Estabel, Clairette de Languedoc, Fulcrand Cabanon, 2023
L'Estabel, Clairette de Languedoc, Fulcrand Cabanon, 2023

Named after a village Priest who was said to have introduced the wine of Cabrières to the...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionLanguedoc-Roussillon

ColourWhite

ABV12.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeFUL123

GrapeClairette &

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Domaine Sainte Barbe, Vire-Clesse, L’Epinet,  2021

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Domaine Sainte Barbe, Vire-Clesse, L’Epinet, 2021

From a very small plot at the top of the slope, planted in the 1940s on gravel and red clay...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV %

Bottle75cl

CodeSAB321

GrapeChardonnay

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Domaine Sainte Barbe, Macon Villages, Les Tilles, 2021

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Domaine Sainte Barbe, Macon Villages, Les Tilles, 2021

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

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV %

Bottle75cl

CodeSAB121

GrapeChardonnay

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Antoine et Laurent Robin, Chablis 1er Cru, Montee de Tonnerre,  2021

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Jancis Robinson
Antoine et Laurent Robin, Chablis 1er Cru, Montee de Tonnerre, 2021

From two parcels, one planted in 1954 and the other in 1982, in this top 1er Cru, which faces...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV 12.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeROB421

GrapeChardonnay

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Fourrey, Chablis 1er Cru, Mont de Milieu, 2021

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Fourrey, Chablis 1er Cru, Mont de Milieu, 2021

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

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV 13%

Bottle75cl

CodeFRR521

GrapeChardonnay

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Domaine Vendome, Viognier, Le Puits des Mejeans, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes, 2022

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Domaine Vendome, Viognier, Le Puits des Mejeans, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes, 2022

From white clay soils on the slopes above Larnage: all goes into tank and the malolactic is...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionRhone

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeVEN622

GrapeViognier

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Jean-Marie Chaland, Viré-Clessé, L’Epinet 2020

From a very small plot at the top of the slope, planted in the 1940s on gravel and red clay...

Style

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV 13.50%

Bottle75cl

CodeSAB320

GrapeChardonnay

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