French wines

Jul 8th, 2001, 09:30 AM
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French wines

My husband and I will be traveling through Provence, Burgundy and the Loire Valley and will be exposed to an immense amount of wine information. Is there a primer or book that might help me? I like wine but really don't know enough to make a decision on what to order within each region. We'll have one bottle for dinner each night.. but which one?

Jul 8th, 2001, 10:34 AM
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Just order the local wine, or the vin du pays, wherever you go, or ask your waiter for advice, and you should be fine. French waiters are very knowledgeable about their regional wines and can make good recommendations for you. That's what we did when we visited the Loire and we had really nice wines everywhere we went. The regional wines will pair best with the regional foods. For example, when we visited the town of Sancerre, we ordered the Sancerre wine, a sauvignon blanc, and had it with the local goat cheese that is a specialty of the region. Sublime! Don't miss doing this because you won't get these wines back at home as they're not made for export. Don't worry about having a limited knowledge of wine - you're probably better off because you will not have any wine prejudices.

Do a search on Google, type in the region and "wine" and you will get all kinds of info, with maps showing the various regions and explaining the different types of wines. Enjoy! Have a wonderful time!
Jul 8th, 2001, 10:35 AM
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When in Loire we used a booked called

A Wine and Food Guide to the Loire
Jacqueline Friedrich

It was quite useful in that we did find a couple of good vineyards in it but in actual fact, we found many of them very very difficult to physically locate, and drove in circles a lot, eventually settling for another in the locality but not in the book.

Mostly we followed the wine route and the prettiest roads and did pretty well..

Jul 8th, 2001, 10:40 AM
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Sorry, rereading your post and Ess' more useful reply I notice you are asking about ordering wine with meals rather than finding vineyards.

My husband didnt know anything at all about wine either and at restaurants found he did fine by choosing anything local from the menu or asking the staff. Most restaurants which feature local wine take great pride in showcasing local talent so the wines should be good.

We never worried about choosing the wrong wine for the dish, and nor did our choices get any raised eyebrows from staff.

Sometimes we would even order a pichet of the house wine. Much cheaper and also good.

Pete did read a couple of bits out of guide books for beginners such as that by Oz Clark and Malcolm Gluck but if I recall that was after the Loire trip and before a subsequent trip to France.
Jul 8th, 2001, 04:06 PM
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Robert Parker (yup, the Spenser guy) is a wine expert and has written several books on the subject. There are a couple that are excellent primers; try the library, local bookstore, or a good wine shop. There is even, heaven forefend, a "Wine for Dummies".
Jul 8th, 2001, 05:04 PM
mimi taylor
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I was about to say the samething as ess. But let me add that we always taste the local cheese as well as the local apertif which are tastes you cannot always find stateside. In Paris We like to drin SUZE in provence we like FRIGOULE, a thyme flavered before diner drink. As ess says always ask the waiter what's the local.....whatever.

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