A beginner's guide to choosing French wine

If shopping for wine has your head spinning, here are some tips to help you pick the best French tipple.

If you often find yourself in the bottle shop staring blankly at a wall full of similarly-priced wines - there are some simple tips to help you make an informed choice.

Whether you're looking to buy the best bottle to gift to a friend, or simply want something to move along your Friday night at home, we've found a fool-proof way to shop French wine.

According to wine merchant Justine Lyons, the co-founder of French Vine, the key to French wine is the region in which it's grown.

While, in Australia, wine is usually labelled according to the type of grape (Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay etc), French wines are labelled according to region - something most Aussies will find confusing!

So, which regions do want to look at?

"Take on French wine one region at a time," Justin encourages. This will help you figure out which region has flavours closest to those you prefer - whether it be a Pinot Noir or a Merlot. "Start with Burgundy as it's a simple one: Burgundy reds will be Pinot Noir and whites will be Chardonnay."

Here are Justine's quick tips on French wine regions:


Main grape varieties: Pinot Noir (red), Chardonnay (white)

The land (or terroir!) in Burgundy is known for producing the very best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the world. Having a cheese night with your girlfriends? You'll want to bring a red from Burgundy!


Main grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (red), Merlot (red)

Over 90 per cent of Bordeaux wines are red wines, made with predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Bordeaux reds range from medium to full-bodied with notes of black currant and plum. A Bordeaux wine will be perfect for date night or family dinners, where a beef roast in your centrepiece.


Main grape varieties: Chardonnay (white)

Chablis wines have citrus flavours, a result of unique style of oak-ageing. Try this one with a light seafood dish, like this pan-fried snapper, seared scallop tagliatelle or Manu Feildel's chilli mussels.

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