Guide to French White Wine

In the great pantheon of European wine nations, France stands alone. For centuries, L’Hexagone has pulled off a remarkable feat: viticultural diversity. Unlike Spain, Germany, and Italy, France has maintained a multi-faceted wine portfolio since the beginning, exporting red and white wines to eager clients worldwide. Of course, we do not wish to belittle Spain’s […]

Hidden from the spotlight of fame: Riesling

Critics, buyers, and journalists have been scratching their heads over Riesling. It is universally regarded as one of the world’s finest white grapes – the antithesis of Chardonnay in every way imaginable. Unoaked, saline, and aromatically complex, Riesling should be the star of the hospitality sector. Yet consumers remain, at best, largely indifferent to the […]

Going solo: Semillon grape variety

For centuries, winemakers in Bordeaux have blended Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc to produce whites of impeccable balance and finesse. However, until very recently, it was only the Australians who routinely used Semillon to make great dry wine without a supporting act; the Bordelais have a powerful cultural attachment to blending, partly as an insurance policy […]

Gewürztraminer’s fair hearing

Gewürztraminer presents a conundrum. From one perspective, the grape has all the necessary credentials for global fame: one of the world’s most pungent white varieties is both attractively priced and innately food-friendly. Its spicy bouquet, with aromas of rose petal, face cream, lychee, and grapefruit, is instantly recognizable and hard to dislike. Moreover, as Sauvignon […]

Saved from extinction: Courbu Blanc

The French Basque Country holds many secrets, not least a smattering of indigenous varieties that seldom make international headlines. Chief among these is Courbu, known as Hondarrabi Zuri on the Spanish side of the border. In the verdant hills of Hondarribia and beyond, the grape is used to make Txakoli – this tongue-twister of a […]

The great divider: Sauvignon Blanc

You can smell a glass of New World Sauvignon Blanc a mile off: a pungent concoction of tropical fruit, blackcurrant leaf, and freshly cut grass. This modern-day exemplar was established by the grape’s most powerful advocate – New Zealand. The Kiwis took a long-established European wine style and propelled its flavors to another dimension; “it’s […]

Roussanne’s collectability credentials

Burgundy myopia is a long-established trait amongst the world’s collectors and connoisseurs. Indeed, a wealth of superlative white wine is being made across France today, yet the secondary market has traditionally remained aloof. Just ask fine wine expert Olivier Gasselin, who observes that: “I haven’t seen much evidence of market diversification in recent times. There […]

Pinot Gris: n’est pas Grigio

Pinot Gris has been unfairly typecast as quaffable weekend drinking: bland, inoffensive, and unfailingly polite. Its reputation was made as the second-cheapest option on the wine list – hardly a ringing endorsement. Unfortunately, some blame must be laid at the door of our Italian friends. Pinot Grigio (as it’s known in Italy) is one of Europe’s […]

Just a little respect: the rise of Pinot Blanc

Jancis Robinson MW describes Pinot Blanc as “useful rather than exciting.” This is hardly a controversial view: the grape has never been treated with any particular reverence in the vineyards of western Europe. In Alsace and Trentino Alto-Adige, it was historically cropped at high yields and used to produce a very innocuous, if somewhat bland […]

A race to the top: Picpoul Blanc

Picpoul could give Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc a run for its money if there is a new fashionable white grape variety. It has excellent credentials: the grape produces an aromatic style full of character; it is becoming popular outside of France; it is marketed at very attractive price points. Yet, best of all, top-quality Picpoul Blanc […]

A lost legacy: Picardan grape variety

French wine covers the whole gamut, from varieties exported worldwide to obscure grapes that almost no one has heard of; you can probably imagine which category Picardan falls into! However, this is esoteric on a different level: just a few parcels are left in the southern Rhône Valley, primarily in the appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Few, if […]

The bargain of the century: Petit Manseng

This year, more than ever, consumers will seek relative value and excitement when choosing wine. Trend-conscious understand what we’re talking about; comfort zones and ‘old favorites’ are out, and esoteric styles and unexplored regions are in vogue. The demand for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco is as buoyant as ever in global terms. But […]

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Cellar Tours Private Luxury Food & Wine Tours

Cellar Tours

Cellar Tours is a Luxury Travel Specialist, operating since 2003 and offering exclusive Mercedes chauffeured Gourmet Vacations in Chile, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. We specialize in luxurious custom designed vacations, events and incentives related to food and wine. We are proud members of Slow Food, UNAV (Travel Agency Association in Spain), and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals).

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