WANTED: An easy, breezy way to get a grasp of French wines, fast.

FOUND: A fresh, fun focus on the various (fabulous’ French wine types, defined as wine styles. Page by page, region by region, each wine’s personality is cap-tured unerringly by Fall’s harvest of hot French fashions. 1987?Looks like a very good year!

THE BRANDS you’ll meet – repre-senting the finest wine makers in France-are available at your nearby wine store. They are names to remember, and labels to look for when you shop. You’ll also see the term “Appellation d’Origine Controlée,” or AOC. which appears; on many French wine labels and loosely means “controlled place name.” It’s the French government’s guaran-tee (the world’s strictest) that a wine meets the standards of all wines sharing that place name-frorn vineyard site to grape varieties used, to yield per acre.


What defines the style of a wine? Here, some points to pour over…

BODY is best seen as the weight of a wine, ranging from light-bodied (and Typically young) to hearty, mature, full-bodied types. Remember body when matching wines with menus: Serve lighter foods with light wines, and heartier fare with full-bodied wines.

TEXTURE is ruled, to a degree, by weight. A wine may be richly velvety… supple and silky… or light as air Bubbles add tingling texture. A wine’s aftertaste for “finish”) also reflects texture

TEMPERATUREChilled to a crisp edge, sipped cellar-cool (55°) or at a low room temperature (65°), the decirees should be in sync with a wine’s nature. (The better to bring out its character.)

FRAGRANCE A heady preview of what’s to come. Swirl to reveal fruits, flowers, herbs, earth, spices or smoke. And revel in it all.

FLAVOR In white wines, fruitiness is giver a clean-lasting edge with acids. In reds, the fruit is countered with tannin-a substance also present in tea that bestows body and lets wine age into enchantment.

GRAPES greatly shape the style of a wine. Each variety has its own personality, yet new moods and hues emerge as soil and climate vary. In France, the AOC protects the integrity of each grape’s nature by granting its guarantee only to hose that measure up. Here, meet the world’s greatest grapes – many born in France – all at their best in French wines…


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