Guide to French Red Wine

Key French Red Grapes by Wine Region France is a conundrum. As the world’s viticultural map continues to expand and change at an unprecedented rate, the birthplace of fine wine appears to be sleeping. The global wine industry has witnessed a series of tectonic movements over the past 20 years: The rise of social media […]

Petit Verdot rises from obscurity

The term ‘Bordeaux blend’ has become synonymous with the region’s iconic – and widely exported – recipe for making powerfully structured red wine. Every oenophile can recite the formula in a heartbeat: mix varying proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot to make something far greater than the sum of its parts. But there […]

Malbec’s voyage of rediscovery

Loved by consumers everywhere, Malbec has become synonymous with cultural – or is that viticultural? – appropriation. Once prolific across several major French regions, this much-loved red grape was introduced to South America in the 19th century. The rest, as they say, is history; the area under vine exploded in Argentina in the late 1900s, […]

A mover and shaker: Mourvèdre

Is Mourvèdre a noble red grape variety or a dirty little secret? To some growers, this recherché varietal is an essential part of the viticultural landscape in the southern Rhone, adding structure and ‘fire’ to the quintessential GSM (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre) blends that have made its reputation. Others loathe Mourvèdre and will happily list […]

The third variety: Pinot Meunier

Blending different grape varieties (assemblage) is the lifeblood of the Champagne region. The skill required is unparalleled – an experienced winemaker can transform a collection of thin and acidic base wines into a complex, rich, and elegant sparkling wine. Today, most Champagne (excluding mono-varietal styles like Blanc de Blancs) is composed of a blend of […]

From workhorse to revival: Cinsault

Like many so-called ‘workhorse’ grape varieties of the Mediterranean, Cinsault does not boast a proud history. Indeed, there are many parallels with Carignan, another red grape that was routinely derided in the 20th century; relatively easy to grow, Cinsault maintained a presence in vineyards across the Southern Rhone and Languedoc for one simple reason. Namely, […]

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir excites, enthralls, and disappoints in equal measure. It is responsible for some of the most hauntingly beautiful wines on earth, including the Burgundy Grand Crus of La Tache, Chambertin, and La Romanée Conti. Collectors will pay almost any price for an opportunity to sample this legendary wine – bottles of Domaine de la […]

The ultimate divider: Gamay Noir

First division grape variety or frivolous quaffing material? No other wine style divides consumer (and critical) opinion quite like Gamay, the signature red grape of the Beaujolais region in Burgundy. Of course, it has its share of proponents; some see great virtue in the Gamay grape’s easy drinkability and attractive fruitiness, while others deride Gamay […]

Cabernet Franc steps into the spotlight

It is not easy to deliver a concise and definitive synopsis of Cabernet Franc. Some would describe the red grape variety as a close relative of Merlot; relatively soft and accessible, it has less tannin than Cabernet Sauvignon and consequently lacks the imposing structure of Bordeaux’s number-one grape. Yet Cabernet Franc is more resistant to […]

Cabernet Sauvignon: The world’s most popular grape

The world of wine is far more than simply a numbers game. Instead, it champions the familiar and esoteric, with hundreds of obscure grape varieties found across Europe. They may be responsible for only a few thousand bottles of wine per year in terms of volume. Yet growers continue to cherish them, despite the onward […]

Carignan Grape: from Zero to Hero?

Certain grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, always elicit a smile from sommeliers, winemakers, and oenophiles. Its ability to produce some of the finest and long-lived red wines in the world is unquestionable. Loved and adored by millions, this noble red grape variety can scarcely put a foot wrong. And then there’s red grape varieties […]

The greatest red grape of the Rhône: Syrah

Syrah is perhaps the most underrated of the ‘noble’ red grape varieties. Every critic worth their salt will tell you the same thing; Syrah (or Shiraz) is responsible for some of the finest red wines made in the world today. Like all great varieties, Syrah is a true chameleon, growing on a range of terroirs […]

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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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