For centuries, French wines have set standards to inspire winemakers around the world. No other country has France's long history of fine wine production, which has helped define wine styles around the world.
How significant is France in the world of wine? The most popular international grape varieties, from Chardonnay to Merlot to Cabernet Sauvignon, are native to France. In many years France produces (and consumes!) more wine than any other country. Its production and export of fine wines is unmatched.
The ancient Greeks were the first to take advantage of France's potential for wine production, as they planted vines in their colonies along the Mediterranean coastline more than 2,500 years ago. After the Romans conquered Gaul in 51 B.C., they took vines and winemaking practices north across the land. In the following centuries, Christian monasteries became centers for viticulture, and their monks made pioneering advances in both winemaking and distilling. By the Middle Ages, the English had already recognized the excellence of wines of France, and while they controlled Bordeaux they expanded the region's existing vineyards to supply the brand-new export market.
Located in Santenay, in the southern Cote de Beaune, Clos de Malte is a 17 acres monopole of Louis Jadot that lies at the foot of the Montagne des Troix Croix. It is planted primarily to Pinot Noir on moist soil of limestone and clay, but there is also a small amount of Chardonnay here. In winemaking, the Chardonnay grapes are fermented and matured in oak barrels for about 12 months.