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The Everyday Guide to Wines of France

The Everyday Guide to Wines of France

Course No.  9176
Course No.  9176
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Course Overview

About This Course

6 lectures  |  36 minutes per lecture

France's outstanding reputation for fine wines—whether red, white, or sparkling—doesn't come out of thin air. Rather, it stems from hundreds of years of tradition that have created the gold standard by which all other wines around the world are measured.

The colors, aromas, and tastes of French wines span the spectrum and in many ways have gone on to shape and influence everything we appreciate about fine wine. It is in France where some of the world’s most common grape varieties—such as Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon—were first grown and harvested. Whether you’re a connoisseur of great wine or simply looking for the best bottle to give as a gift or to pair with dinner, to learn about the wines of France is to understand the origins of wine culture and to expose yourself to a range of tastes and traditions unmatched anywhere else in the world.

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France's outstanding reputation for fine wines—whether red, white, or sparkling—doesn't come out of thin air. Rather, it stems from hundreds of years of tradition that have created the gold standard by which all other wines around the world are measured.

The colors, aromas, and tastes of French wines span the spectrum and in many ways have gone on to shape and influence everything we appreciate about fine wine. It is in France where some of the world’s most common grape varieties—such as Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon—were first grown and harvested. Whether you’re a connoisseur of great wine or simply looking for the best bottle to give as a gift or to pair with dinner, to learn about the wines of France is to understand the origins of wine culture and to expose yourself to a range of tastes and traditions unmatched anywhere else in the world.

Grab a glass and join acclaimed Master of Wine Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan on a fascinating six-lecture tour of the best wines that France has to offer with The Everyday Guide to Wines of France. What makes French wines stand out from their international counterparts? How does the varied landscape of France shape and influence what’s in your wine glass? Why do French wines command such respect from culinary experts and casual drinkers? These intriguing questions and more are answered in a journey packed with interactive wine tastings, food and wine pairing demonstrations, practical tips and suggestions for shopping and gift giving, and more.

Visit French Wine Regions—Right from Home

The Everyday Guide to Wines of France takes you all across the country on a vibrant search for the best of the best when it comes to French wines. From the comfort of your own home and with the help of green screen technology that transports Ms. Simonetti-Bryan around the country, you’ll travel to some of France’s most important wine regions and investigate their unique wine-making traditions.

  • The Loire Valley: Called the “Garden of France,” this valley has a climate considered the most pleasant in northern France, which makes it a popular destination for vacationers and wine enthusiasts.
  • Burgundy: The region of Burgundy is home to only two major grape varieties—Chardonnay (for white grapes) and Pinot Noir (for red grapes). Burgundy is also known for making some of the best white wines in the world.
  • Bordeaux: Bordeaux is home to some of the boldest and richest wines in France. Rooted in formal traditions and history, the wines from this region last for many decades and generally command the highest prices at wine auctions.

Sample the Best Wines France Has to Offer

Throughout each lecture, you'll have the opportunity to taste alongside Ms. Simonetti-Bryan as she samples great French wines and draws your attention to curious subtleties and differences your palate may not have noticed before. While French wines can be expensive, many of the wines featured in this course are affordable and can easily be found in your nearest wine shop or supermarket.

The Everyday Guide to Wines of France is an engaging chance to unravel the mysteries of some of the world's greatest wines in the company of a master educator who has trained hundreds of professionals in the wine industry and has been featured on a variety of popular media programs. Most of all, it's an amazing wine-tasting journey that will leave you with a greater appreciation for French wine—in all of its captivating varieties.

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6 Lectures
  • 1
    French Wines—Quality and Tradition
    Discover everything you need to know to understand—and savor—a wine that is exceedingly French and enjoyed on both celebratory and everyday occasions: Champagne. You’ll learn how to open a bottle of Champagne like an expert, how it compares to Prosecco and other sparkling wines from around the world, how the landscape of the Champagne region affects the character of the wine itself, which foods pair best with sweet and dry Champagnes, and more. x
  • 2
    Alsace and Loire—Delicate, Racy, and Luscious
    Muscadet. Sancerre. Chinon. Alsace Riesling. Sample these and other elegant reds and whites from the Loire and Alsace regions of France. As you taste your way through these treasures, you’ll explore what experts mean when they say wine is “past its peak,” why acidic wine pairs so well with seafood dishes, why a German wine is grown in France, and why a particular form of fungus on grapes can actually be a great thing. x
  • 3
    Burgundy—Wines of Sophistication and Elegance
    Ms. Simonetti-Bryan takes you on a virtual tour of the tastes and sights of her most favorite wine region: Burgundy. What makes this landscape so important is that it’s the benchmark for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir around the world. You’ll get a chance to find out for yourself why it’s the gold standard through interactive tastings and comparisons of a range of wines, including a Bourgogne Blanc, a Chablis, a Meursault, and a Beaujolais. x
  • 4
    Bordeaux—Bold and Rich Wines
    Become more familiar with wines from France’s most iconic wine region: Bordeaux. As you taste your way through a variety of unique wines, you’ll also see how winemaking in France compares with winemaking in California (where technological innovations are looked on more favorably) and take a peek at how a wine ages over time. You’ll finish the lecture with a luxurious sampling of a Sauterne, one of the world’s best-known dessert wines. x
  • 5
    Rhône Valley—Aromatic Whites and Spicy Reds
    Explore the great wines of the northern and southern Rhône Valley, which display a side that’s more flavorful, spicy, and savory. As you use the five S’s of tasting wine to make your way through a red and a white Côtes du Rhone, a Condrieu, a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and more, you’ll train yourself to easily pick out the ways in which the landscape of this region shapes how its wines look, smell, and taste. x
  • 6
    Southern France—Rising Stars and Secret Gems
    Go to the southern coast of France (and other outlying regions) for a look at the rest of the wines this country has to offer: a Vin de Pays d’Oc Chardonnay, a Chablis, a Provence Rosé, a Corbières, a Cahors, and a Madiran. You’ll also learn the pros and cons of screw-capped wine, see how rosés are crafted, and have fun with a final quiz (modeled on a French game) that tests your newfound knowledge of French wines. x

Lecture Titles

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Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan
Master of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan
Institute of Masters of Wine

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan is among a small number of people to have received the highest credentials in the wine and spirits industry. She is one of only a few hundred people in the world to have achieved the Master of Wine (M.W.) title from The Institute of Masters of Wine in London, England-the highest and most difficult title to achieve in the industry. She also has a Professional Certificate in Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has taught courses for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, has trained thousands of professionals in the wine and spirits industry, and has judged international spirits and wine competitions, including the Ultimate Beverage Challenge in 2010 and 2011. She has also hosted seminars with Food Network stars such as Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batali. In 2008, she won the Wiesbaden Tasting Trophy from The Institute of Masters of Wine. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan is a frequent guest on television programs, including Fox Business, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV. Additionally, she has been featured in publications such as Fortune, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Magazine.

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Reviews

Rated 4.8 out of 5 by 6 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by A superb course! I bought this course to better aquaint myself with French wines. The professor is truly a Master. She introduces the winemaking region and grapes, then moves to the wines: colour, bouquet (smell), and then taste. She often tastes in pairs to make a comparisson - I found this the most helpful. The professor also tastes a monetary range of wines, from moderate to expensive, emphasizing all the best qualities - as opposed to dunking cheap wine. She mentions food pairings, which is a bonus at making a solid impression at a family/business dinner. This is a great course for the individual to improve their wine knowledge over months, as well as a monthly wine group, who can purchase all the wines for one tasting. Aside from the content, the videos are of high production value (compared to other videos of lectures) and Jennifer is very at ease in front of the camera. Truly excellent course TGC! I'll purchase her other lectures following this one. March 9, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Terroir-ist plot? Like others, I knew little of French wines and the reasons why they have been held is such high regard (especially in the realms of price). Ms Simonetti-Bryan brings the subject into simple terms, with a list of wines to back it up. I did not taste along with her, but I intend to...with the help of several of my friends. The wines of Bordeaux might require a second mortgage. However, we had the opportunity to travel to the Burgundy district and found the local wines (and prices) to be excellent...much better than the same (?) wines we found in the US. I'm not a wine snob, but one who likes to sample different wines and try to learn. Try this course, along with the California and Italian wines...but only if you can get a great deal. I recommend it just for fun. December 30, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by What a great wine course This is truly a great TC course. I bought this lecture in anticipation of an upcoming trip to Paris. I have a vague idea about French wines, but never had a firm understanding. The presentation is perfect. Exciting, informative and to the point. It covers everything you need to know to have a grasp on different French varietals. I did not "taste" along with the courses. Instead, I went to the wine shop after and bought whatever I had just learned about. (at least what I could afford!). I would then quickly review the course material to cement the teachings in my head. It is so much less intimidating going to the wine store or restaurant now! I ended up taking my own notes. It is a disappointed that there is no course guide included with these lectures. I've already bought the Italian wine series and might jump into the California wines. Despite many trips to Napa and Sonoma, I'm sure this professor will open my eyes to the region! January 25, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by Cautionary Nore for the Video Download ONLY Rather than the usual expansive Course Notes this course has a Reference Guide which includes a suggested Wine List from each area covered. This is a concertina-type document with three folds, and includes four “pages” of information on each of its two sides. The catalogue describes it as “slim and portable, it’s an ideal companion for shopping and reviewing the material.” Unfortunately this Reference Guide has been copied into the downloadable document as only two pages, each showing all four “pages” of the guide, rather than each “page” being scanned separately. While this can be sized appropriately to be read on a computer, when printed off the writing is so small as to render the document virtually useless as “an ideal companion for shopping.” Hopefully this major faux pas is soon corrected by The Great Courses. For this reason I cannot give the Video Download version of this course a 5 rating for Overall or Value. January 1, 2013
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