With the holidays approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to serve alongside your pumpkin pie or Christmas roast. So I am happy to present a highly subjective list of some of my favorite French wines that I’ve gotten to taste this year.
French Wine Recommendations 2023
Château Le Rey Les Argileuses 2019
It’s hard to put together a list of wine recommendations without including at least one Bordeaux, but this one is particularly interesting. The Château Le Rey Les Argileuses 2019 is a rich, intense Bordeaux red blend with an earthiness and minerality balanced by a surprising juiciness from black fruit notes. This wine is set to age well, so it also works great as a gift for the amateur collector. This is a great pairing with game meats, veal, or a hearty brisket.
Matthieu Barret Vilain 2020
I was lucky enough to try this wine at Le Barav in Paris, and begged them to show me the bottle since the wine bar serves curated selections, and doesn’t always tell you exactly what you’re getting in advance. Matthieu Barret Vilain 2020 is a funky, bubbly red wine, a super fun way to spice up your apéritif. Fans of orange wines and pét-nats will love this unconventional Rhône Valley Syrah.
Château de Berne Inspiration 2022
Rosé is a year-round drink in my opinion, especially in New York, where your landlord might crank the heat in your apartment up to 80 degrees on a balmy fall day. And the Château de Berne Inspiration 2022 is a real crowd-pleaser. Made in Provence from a blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsault, and Syrah, this tart and floral rosé has notes of grapefruit and strawberry. Pair with seafood (seven fishes, anyone?) or a roast chicken with lemon and Herbes de Provence.
La Rose No.7 Domaine J. Laurens Crémant de Limoux
This fresh, bright Crémant de Limoux (a classic sparkling wine from the Languedoc) is great for an apéritif, and boasts notes of lemon, lime, and cherry. La Rose No.7, a sparkling rosé, made using the traditional method, will make even the chilliest winter day feel like an afternoon at the beach. Serve alongside your appetizers, like a shrimp cocktail or some mini quiches.
Picpoul de Pinet Domaine Felines Jourdan 2022
Picpoul is a grape native to the Languedoc region that is an absolute must-try… even if you’re on a budget. Picpoul and oysters are a match made in heaven, and this lesser-known wine gives you far more bang for your buck than other popular oyster pairings like Chablis, Sancerre, or Champagne. Pear, peach, and pomelo give the Picpoul de Pinet Domaine Felines Jourdan 2022 a beautiful aromatic quality, overlying the characteristic salinity of the Languedoc.
Château Arnauld 2019 Crus Bourgeois
This Bordeaux red blend from the Haut-Médoc appellation is part of the Crus Bourgeois distinction, a quality marker signifying excellent value for price. The Château Arnauld 2019 Crus Bourgeois has strong notes of blackberry, licorice, and black currant, and pairs well with lamb, duck, or mushroom-based dishes.
Domaine Gilles Couperet Morgan 2020
Beaujolais gets a lot of hate, thanks to the light and fruity Beaujolais Nouveau wines that make up the first wines released during each year’s harvest. But the region has a lot of great wines that can still offer you something low key and sippable, but with a bit more complexity. The Domaine Gilles Couperet Morgan 2020 is surprisingly tannic for the region, closer to a Burgundy, but its Gamay grapes still deliver on Beaujolais’s characteristic fruit-forward notes with rich black cherry and a hint of violet. Enjoy this with a meaty stew or vegetarian chili.
French-Style Wines You Should Be Drinking
Moules Blanc de Blanc Brut
It’s not often that I find American wines that taste like they were made in France, so I like to celebrate those rarities when I can. The Moules Blanc de Blanc Brut from Ripe Life Wines is an Old World-style Blanc de Blanc made in California from Chardonnay grapes using the méthode champenoise, and it’s a great choice if you want something lively and elegant but don’t want to blow your budget on imported champagne. With notes of citrus and brioche, and a vibrant effervescence, this sparkling wine is begging to be paired with a bowl of moules frites.
Picayune Sauvignon Blanc
The Sauvignon Blanc from boutique California winemaker Picayune Cellars is a must-try for white wine drinkers looking for something crisp, fresh, and elegant. Created by a French expat, this Sauv Blanc is lighter and more refined than a lot of Napa Valley wines, made in the French style, with notes of citrus and gooseberry. Chicken and fish are obvious pairings, but don’t be afraid to branch out with something spicy.
The Jetty from Tower 15
The California winery Tower 15 makes a number of French-style wines. The Jetty, a Rhône-style red, comes in hot. This intense, oaky red blend is earthy and marked by notes of tobacco and dark fruits, and a touch of baking spices. This is a wine that will stick to your bones on a cold night, perfect for pairing with your Thanksgiving turkey.
Catherine Rickman is a writer, professional francophile, and host of the Expat Horror Stories podcast. She is currently somewhere in Brooklyn with a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @catrickman.