8 Essential French Wines for Winter

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flickr: akash.mehra
A French Winter
France’s viticulture has true depth in the red-wine category, from the palest rosé in Provence to benchmark Bordeaux reds, all reasons to drink with food. Here are some French favorites for winter, along with an Alsatian Pinot Blanc and Italian Sylvaner, plus a New Zealand Pinot Noir and powerhouse red blend from Mendoza.
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2016 Chateau d’Esclans
2016 Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé

Provence, France

This lighter style of Rosé, characteristic of the South of France, features berry notes that intensify near the finish and linger on the palate. Minerals throughout make this a nice rosé to pair with salty snacks.

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2011 Chateau Rollan de By “Cru Bourgeois,” Medoc

Bordeaux, France

This Bordeaux red blend’s (70% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Petit Verdot) dark ruby-red hue amplifies with notes of plums, black cherries, and black tea, and wraps into a smooth, round mouthfeel.

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2014 Terrasses du Larzac Domaine de la Reserve d'O

Languedoc, France

Crafted from certified-organic grapes, this red blend (45% Syrah, 45% Grenache, and 10% Cinsault) results in a luscious and jammy profile featuring black-cherry notes. Refined, elegant tannins include some spice near the finish.

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Les Hauts
2015 Les Hauts de Janeil Syrah-Grenache

Pays d'Oc, France

Syrah (80%) and Grenache (20%) power this red blend that is neither fruit-forward nor flush with red fruit. Instead, you get a soft profile with notes of black cherries and black currants.

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Dopff & Irion
2015 Dopff & Irion Cuvee Rene Dopff Pinot Blanc

Alsace, France

Chalky and with orange-blossom notes and delicate acidity, this Pinot Blanc is a delightful expression of an Alsatian white wine.

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2015 Crios Red

Mendoza, Argentina

From Susana Balboa, this red blend (40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Merlot) is packed with fruit-forward layers (blackberries and raspberries) and a soft profile, with some white pepper appearing near the finish to help pair with spicy foods.

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Cloudy Bay
2014 Cloudy Bay Vineyards Pinot Noir

Marlborough, New Zealand

Concentrated black-cherry notes and accents of cloves from this winery—more known, along with the region, for its Sauvignon Blanc—lead into a soft finish on this Pinot Noir.

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2015 Strasserhof Sylvaner White Wine

Alto Adige, Italy

After aromas of rose petals, this wine (100% Sylvaner grapes) eases into a palate with a chalky undercurrent and mineral-rich nectarine notes before winding into a clean finish.

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