Sunday, December 21, 2014

U is for Uh Oh but V is for Vin

french village diaries food a to z advent calendar vin wine
French food alphabet advent calendar


Welcome to my French Food Alphabet Advent Calendar where I am working my way through a selection of delicious food posts; some are regional specialities, some are my personal favourite foods, some posts include recipes, but all are linked to French food and drink. I hope you are enjoying your virtual tastings.

It’s the 21st December and U is for Uh Oh! I can’t think of anything, so when in doubt pour a glass of wine and move on to V is for Vin.

Well, what can I say about France and wine other than they really know their thing when it comes to producing the many varieties of wine from their different regions and when talking about wine, we must not forget that all important French concept of terroir. This is the complex relationship between the geographical and environmental conditions that are unique from one vineyard to another and therefore produce unique tasting wines where flavour, quality and price can vary dramatically from one side of a road to the other. The main wine growing regions in France are the Alsace, which produces some very nice dry and fruity white wines, Bordeaux, one of the big boys for red wine production, Burgundy, also celebrated for it’s red wines, Champagne, home of the party-girl fizzy wine, Côtes du Rhone, where you find the famous Chateauneuf du Pape, the Languedoc, the largest producing region in terms of volume, the Loire Valley where white and the rosé d’Anjou are produced and Provence, home to my favourite rosé.

We live in fairly dry area, in terms of wine production, but we don’t have to drive more than about twenty minutes before we are amongst the rolling Cognac vineyards. There is also our local wine, the Vin du Pays Charentais, which we enjoy although production is not celebrated quite like the famous Bordeaux region, which we can reach in a couple of hours. Something I have noticed on our travels through France (and her wine regions) is that every area has a different preference when it comes to pruning their vines. I’m guessing this has a lot to do with their local terroir.

There is so much more to be said about French wine, and I can highly recommend reading Caro Feely’s two memoirs set on her organic vineyard, Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France and Saving Our Skins: Building a Vineyard Dream in France or Patrick Moon's Virgile's Vineyard: A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country if you want to learn more about producing wine in France.

At this time of year, my favourite wine is Vin Chaud, or mulled wine and you can find my recipe here.

Don’t forget to pop back tomorrow for the letter W, we've nearly reached the end now. If you have missed my previous advent posts you can catch up by clicking on the letters ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP, Q, R, S and T.