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Visit Five French Wine Regions Without Leaving Home

"Wine Masters Season 1, France", by Klaas de Jong, is a beautifully shot series about five wine making families, one from each of five premiere regions of France. He is a feature film producer who has turned his hand to a topic he wanted to give deeper treatment to than is normally found. Each segment gives the viewer a sense of place, or terroir, that identifies each growing region. Viewers get to know its wines, as well as getting to know a multigenerational family history from the regions, exhibiting their dedication to wine growing that makes the product.

The regions and families (anyone involved with wine will recognize them) which are highlighted are:

                Rhone represented by Guigal

                Bordeaux represented by De Bouard de Laforest

                Burgundy represented by Drouhin

                Alsace represented by Trimbach

                Loire represented by Borgeois

There is a pattern to the segments: interviews of wine experts and family members, with obligatory shots of cellars, barrels and wine thieves taking tasting samples; harvest family meals of workers, caring for the vines and the luxury of long standing estates might make one envious. But the obvious hard work and dedication to make a quality product comes through, along with nuggets of truth about wine, many of which I have said numerous times at tastings or classes I have run.

These include, in no particular order or grouping:

                Sauvignon blanc goes well with chevre.

                Cool nights are important to maintaining acidity in the final product.

                Vines grown on hillsides enhance both drainage, solation and fruit characteristics.

                Soil and subsoils greatly influence the fruit characteristics.

                Calcium carbonate/limestone enhances acidity.

                Quality of final product is the result of many details.

                Fruit characters in wine diminish with age.

                Bordeaux's beauty is in its blending of grapes.

                Don't  drink great wines too young; sometimes it pays to wait.

                Both vintage and terroir matter.

                Burgundy is a place, not a grape, and location/terroir matters greatly.

                Professionals have a special vocabulary, which can be learned if you pay attention.

                Wine scores can be misleading as to enjoyment.

                There is a place for both everyday and special wines.

                It's nice to be rich.

                High end wines are luxury items.

                Trust your own palate, as wine opinion is not much different than food opinion.

                Acidity and tannins produce longevity.

                Balance and length are harbingers of both quality and aging ability.

                Winemaking styles can change over time.

                Prime wine growing land can be extremely expensive.

                Food pairing is about balance and complimentary flavors.

                Riesling is a world class grape.

                Complexity comes from soil and subsoils.

                Sweetness in Alsace is about the "house"; you have to know the maker's style.

                Well made wine will last and age with grace.

                Power and delicacy can be achieved together and this produces greatness.

                Some producers release their wine when they feel it is ready to drink, others not.

                Alsace is undervalued.  

                Really skilled people make hard things look easy.

The dialogue and interviews are mostly in English, with some French, but closed captioning is available in several languages, making the appeal multi-national. Even if you watch without the sub titles, you will get the gist of what they are saying. Cheaper than a trip to France with excellent up close access to estates and wine royalty that would be impossible to do on your own, this is a delightful series to watch.


The series is currently available using the link below. Each segment is about 45 minutes long and can be purchased either by region, or in its entirety. Plans for the future include other outlets, as well as other regions, including a newly released series on Italy.  You can use this link to preview or purchase part or all of the series, as well as future wine educational content as they are developed: 



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I'm always looking for great video content when I'm not traveling. This sounds fantastic. Your nuggets would be great on flashcards for those looking at WSET 1, 2 or other beginner courses!
There are plenty of other "nuggets" out there, but these are the ones explained in the series that made me say "I've said that too many times to count." If you're in the trade, there is nothing that new on the list, but for newbies or consumers, they might be eye opening. Cheers. And the series really is well done. 

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