As a specialist in wines from France, it has been particularly pleasing to see how well French producers have responded to the challenge of New World wines, making huge investments in modern equipment and techniques, enabling them to grow and harvest the best quality grapes, to protect them from damage throughout the wine-making process, and to control all aspects of the fermentation process. The result of all this is improved extraction of fruit, flavours, fine tannins and aromas, giving wines which are not only approachable, but a positive delight to drink, while preserving their character and authenticity.
Producer and consumer concern for "Fair Trade", caring for the environment and buying locally continues to grow. The increasing numbers of producers adhering to organisations which verify good-practice shows this. I have indicated this by putting their logos next to the relevant wines on the list.
This has always been an important part of the ethos of my business, and although there is limited wine production in this country; Europe, and France, in particular, is about as local as we can get for a good and varied choice of wine to suit all pockets.
Many producers belong to the "Confédération Nationale des Caves Particulières" (CNCP), an organisation which represents their interests and which lays down guidelines for good practice.
The Logo of the "Confédération Nationale des Caves Particulières" (CNCP)
Often printed on the label and/or capsule, this guarantees that the wine comes from a, family-run farm, tending their own vines, picking and vinifying their own grapes, and bottling only these wines on their own premises. In addition to this, the producer undertakes to develop his winemaking skills, while respecting traditional methods, and to give a warm welcome to all who wish to taste the fruits of his labours. – So, if you are travelling to France, and would like meet the growers; give them a call (many give their telephone numbers on the label), or tell me, and I will contact them on your behalf.
Some of the wines are certified "Organic", but it is becoming increasingly common for French producers to adopt an approach to their work known as "La Culture Raisonnée" - indicated by C.R. in the list. Protecting the environment by using strategies in the vineyard, which operate in harmony with nature to combat pests and diseases. For example, allowing grass and other wild plants to grow between the rows of vines, which encourages insects and prevents soil erosion. In this way the use of any products, which may damage the environment is kept to a minimum. "Terra Vitis" and "Tyflo" are organisations which provide certification that the vineyard is run in an environmentally friendly way. Their logos are shown below.