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!

Chateau de la Liquiere, Faugeres, Amandiers Blanc, 2020

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Chateau de la Liquiere, Faugeres, Amandiers Blanc, 2020

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

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionLanguedoc-Roussillon

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75

CodeLIQ620

GrapeRousanne, Granache Blanc & Marsanne

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Mas d'Agamas, Marsanne, IGP Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, 2020

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Mas d'Agamas, Marsanne, IGP Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, 2020

Intriguing scent of ripe citrus - tangerines, with a note of dried peel. This shows true...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeAGA620

GrapeMarsanne

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Les Chardons, Sauvignon Blanc, IGP Val de Loire, 2019

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Les Chardons, Sauvignon Blanc, IGP Val de Loire, 2019

Honest Loire SB at a fair price. Surprisingly tropical aroma. From the second hot vintage in a...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionLoire

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeAUM319

GrapeSauvignon Blanc

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Les Chapelières, Comté Tolosan, IGP, 2019

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Les Chapelières, Comté Tolosan, IGP, 2019

A best-seller, an easy drinking blend of 70% Colombard and 30% Ugni Blanc, with lowish alcohol...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionSouth-West

ColourWhite

ABV11.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeAGW319

GrapeUgni Blanc, Colombard

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Cherrier Père et fils, Sancerre, 2019

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Cherrier Père et fils, Sancerre, 2019

The latest vintage of this Loire classic from the Cherrier family in Verdigny is as crisp and...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionLoire

ColourWhite

ABV13.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeROS119

GrapeSauvignon Blanc

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Jean-Luc & Bruno Meyer, Gewurztraminer, 2018

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Jean-Luc & Bruno Meyer, Gewurztraminer, 2018

Here there's a perfect balance between the classic rose-petal aromatics, exotic fruit and...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionAlsace

ColourWhite

ABV13.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeMEY318

GrapeGewurztraminer

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Domaine Fourrey, Chablis, 2019

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Domaine Fourrey, Chablis, 2019

Ripe, almost lightly honeyed scents, and then attractive flavours of citrus and dairy. One can...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV12.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeFRR119

GrapeChardonnay

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Jean-Luc & Bruno Meyer, Pinot Gris, 2019

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Jean-Luc & Bruno Meyer, Pinot Gris, 2019

A little richer than usual in this vintage: sandalwood aroma prefaces a lightly savoury,...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionAlsace

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeMEY219

GrapePinot Gris

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Jean-Luc & Bruno Meyer, Pinot Blanc, 2019

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Jean-Luc & Bruno Meyer, Pinot Blanc, 2019

A perennial, organic favourite which makes a lovely aperitif but can also be drunk with a wide...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionAlsace

ColourWhite

ABV12.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeMEY119

GrapePinot Blanc

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Francoise & Denis Clair, Saint Aubin Blanc, 1er Cru Murgers des Dents de Chien, 2016

 Sited on the rocky slopes above the Montrachets, this is rightly considered one of the top...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBurgundy

ColourWhite

ABV13%

Bottle75cl

CodeCLB416

GrapeChardonnay

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Château Les Combes, Bordeaux Blanc - Sauvignon Semillon, 2019

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Château Les Combes, Bordeaux Blanc - Sauvignon Semillon, 2019

The addition of about 20% Sémillon to the ripe Bordeaux Sauvignon adds pleasing fat and...

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionBordeaux

ColourWhite

ABV12.5%

Bottle75cl

CodeGRC619

GrapeSauvignon Semillon Blend

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Domaine du Grand Arc, Corbieres Blanc, Veillee d'Equinoxe, 2019

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Domaine du Grand Arc, Corbieres Blanc, Veillee d'Equinoxe, 2019

An unoaked blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 25% each of Roussanne and Vermentino, plus 10% Macabeu....

Our Rating

Dry > Sweet

OriginFrance

RegionLanguedoc

ColourWhite

ABV14%

Bottle75cl

CodeDGA619

GrapeGrenache Blanc, Roussanne & Vermentino

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