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Lesson Transcript

Come Enjoy the Rich Tradition French Wine Can Offer!
In this lesson, we’re going to learn about French wines. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 24 - Come Enjoy the Rich Tradition French Wine Can Offer!
The occasions that call for drinking wine are as numerous as the varieties of this subtle drink of the gods. Wasn't the best one appreciated by Bacchus the Roman god of the festival and the wine?
Wine in France is more than an alcoholic liquid of variable color, it is a tradition and a living art, or in French art de vivre. It’s present everywhere and throughout the year, with each area of the country producing its own special variety. There are four main categories of wines:
First we have the table wines, which are sold under a brand name and are of consistent quality, or qualité constante.
Second, and of higher quality, come locally produced wines. This is a recently created category, which is determined with more flexibility. The classification of each local wine is personalized, in French personnalisé, according to its geographical place of production and climate in which it was produced.
Third is the category delimited to wines of superior quality, or qualité supérieure, which join the quality of the best wines with controlled denomination.
Finally, fourth is the category that includes the wines of best quality, which undergo the most strict regulation, or régulation, in order to preserve them.
When perusing the wine aisle of your supermarket, you may have noticed the word cépage on certain bottles. This word indicates a variety of grape. According to the climate, the ground and the method of winemaking, a cépage can produce a quite different wine. Obviously each appellation has its variety of grape of predilection. You can also find the millésime term. That indicates the year of winemaking, which can heavily influence the wine’s quality according to whims of the climate just before harvest.
So how might one go about deciding which French wine is most appropriate when making a purchase? Firstly, it is important to be able to decode a wine label, or étiquette. Certain information is obligatory and some is optional, their purpose is to inform the consumer on the expected wine quality before drinking it.
The first obligatory information identifies the category of wine, in other words the "Label of origin", followed by its appellation or geographical area of production. The second mandatory mention is the name, or the bottling company, and the address of its registered office, which is the legal person in charge of producing the wine. The third is the volume of the bottle in liters, centiliters, or milliliters, and the alcoholic strength, expressed as a percentage of the total volume of wine. If the label doesn’t contain all this information, the wine is probably not of French origin, or may be counterfeit!
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What is your favorite French wine?
Until next time!