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France

France – the home of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne – is arguably the world's most important wine-producing country. Wine is ingrained in French culture at almost every level of society; it is the drink of both the elite and the common people. France makes more wine than any other country except Italy and supplies the benchmarks by which almost all wines are judged. This perfectly temperate and varied climate and landscape can supply wines of virtually every style. Its finest red bordeaux sets a standard for the world's Cabernet Sauvignons. The millions and millions of Chardonnay vines planted around the globe owe their existence to white burgundy - just as their Pinot Noir equivalents depend on someone's memory of a great red burgundy. The produce of the Champagne region in the north east provides a model for every single bottle of dry fizz, no matter where it is made. The Rhône valley supplies deep, rich reds while the Loire is better known for pinks and whites of all degrees of sweetness and fizziness. The vine dominates the Mediterranean hinterland in a swathe of vineyards across southern France which are capable of producing almost 10 per cent of the entire planet's wine output. The French even produce their own answer to port (Banyuls) and sherry (vin jaune).