French wines are regarded as the best in the world, and a thread of this belief is even shared by France’s fiercest New World competitors. No other region is able to produce extremely high quality wines over a range of so many styles. Although the winemakers of Australia and California, for instance, no longer try to copy famous French wine styles, they still consider them benchmarks. The great French wine regions are a fortunate accident of geography, climate, and terroir. No other winemaking country in the world has such a wine range of cool climates; this factor has enabled France to produce the entire spectrum of classic wine styles – from the crisp sparkling wines of Champagne through the smooth reds of Burgundy to the rich sweet wines of Sauternes. Over many centuries of trial and error, the French have discovered that specific grapes are suited to certain soils and, through this, distinctive regional wine styles have evolved, so that every wine drinker knows what to expect from a bottle of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, or Rhone. This has been the key to success for French wines.
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