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Each month at Zupan’s Markets, we feature 12 wines on special from a certain category, country or grape variety. For this month’s wine specials we are featuring approachable, affordable, mouthwatering French wines.  Each of our 12 selections, which could easily be found in bistros all over France, are wonderfully food friendly, represent their areas of origin, and are great values.

Steeped in tradition and romance, French wine can provide a profound wine experience.  It can also cause a befuddling shopping experience. Unlike New World wines, where grape variety is prominent,  the most important part of the French wine label is the appellation designation, indicating the wine’s quality level and where the grapes were grown. For example, in the U.S. we name a wine “Pinot Noir,” but in France the same wine would be named “Bourgogne” for the place where the Pinot Noir is grown.

This appellation distinction and regulation of wine making began in 1936 when the Appellations d’Origine Controllée (AOC) system was extended to wine making throughout the country. Translated, AOC means “controlled designation of origin” and was first started in the 15th century to regulate the making of Roquefort cheese. The French developed the AOC system to provide protection for specialized products only made in distinct regions, supporting the idea of “terroir” or that certain regions produce products with distinct and consistent character. This system allows for strict production regulations, including wine making techniques, authorized varieties and vine cultivation.

Over the years France’s wine classification system has been reformed and currently includes three categories. Listed from most basic to highest quality they are Vin de France, IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) & AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). This year even further changes are happening to replace AOC with AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée), however the new distinction only means minor changes to terminology with no changes to the appellations themselves.

With all that said, what is most important to remember in the discovery of French wine, is that in each bottle is the delicious result of centuries of trial and error, passion and stewardship. It is with that knowledge that we invite you to take the plunge into the wonderful world of French wine.

Check out the full list of wines on special this month.

Cheers!

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At  Zupan’s, we believe that great food and great wine go together.  The world of wine is vast and exciting, but some basic knowledge can help even the novice navigate the Zupan’s wine departments. 

First, a few words about the Zupan’s Wine Program.  Our fully-staffed wine departments show our commitment to offering our customers the best service & selection of wine in the city.  In addition to in-store tastings on Friday and Saturday afternoons, Zupan’s customers enjoy a 10% discount on purchases of 6 bottles or more, and even greater discounts on whole, unmixed cases.  Zupan’s offers thousands of choices of wine from around the globe.  Our selection runs from great value wines to some of the most highly sought-after wines in the world.  Our mission is to provide our customers with excellent wine choices for both daily enjoyment as well as special occasions. 

Zupan’s Wine Departments:

You can learn quite a bit from observing the layout of the Zupan’s wine departments.  A little bit of information will help this make sense.

In what we call the New World (areas with a relatively short history of wine production, including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina), wines are generally named after the grape.  So in our wine departments, you will see the following large categories of wines:
– Chardonnay
– Sauvignon Blanc
– Pinot Gris
– Blends (white wine)
– Cabernet Sauvignon
– Merlot
– Pinot Noir
– Syrah
– Zinfandel
– Blends (red wines)
Most wines in these areas are from New World producers.

In what we call the Old World (areas with a much longer tradition of wine production) wines are often named after the place where the wine is produced.  These wines are categorized by their country of origin. So you will see sections from:
– France
– Italy
– Spain
– Portugal
In these sections, you will notice names like Barolo, Chianti, Bordeaux, Cotes du Rhone, etc.  These are all the names of places. Further study will help you to learn what grapes are used to make the wines named for places.  In many instances, it’s the same grapes that the New World uses to name the wines.  

Next time you’re in our store, stop by the wine department and say hello.  Venture out of your comfort zone and try a new bottle of wine.  One of our wine stewards will help you pick the perfect bottle.  Cheers!

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Langres CheeseJust when thought we couldn’t get any more excited about Champagne season, along came our Burnside Cheesemonger Susan with this special treat: Langres cheese from the Champagne region in France. Cheese from Champagne? We’re in heaven.

Langres is a washed-rind, cow’s milk cheese that offers a creamy, decadent flavor. It’s distinctly dimpled orange rind is formed by regular rinsing with a pigment from the Annatto tree during the aging process. Its texture is smooth and dense, which pairs nicely when contrasted by the most famous export from this region in France—Champagne wine. In fact, you’ll notice a concave depression in the top of the wheel—this is an intentional divet made to hold a small well of Champagne!

Susan loves this cheese so much that she suggests pairing it with only bubbly or at most s a thin cracker that won’t detract from Langres’ delicate flavor (her favorite is a Natural Crispbread from 34°).

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ZUPANS STAFF PICK REINARTWe’ve been in a mood lately—a Champagne kind of mood! With Champagne tastings, The Taste of Zupan’s on November 14, a Champagne cocktail poll (click here to tell us your favorite Champagne cocktail!) and the holidays fast approaching, we can’t seem to help ourselves. And our Burnside Wine Steward, Amber Kinjerski, indulged our current infatuation with the bubbly by pulling one as her staff pick this week.

Amber’s pick: Ruinart Brut Champagne out of Reims, France. It’s a “Blanc de Blancs” Champagne (literally “white from whites”)—which means it’s made from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes. It’s also a fantastic deal for a premier bottle of bubbly, coming in at under $60. This big bodied, buttery Champagne easily holds its ground among the big guns with great depth and complexity, and hints of toasty almonds in its flavoring. Ruinart, the world’s oldest Champagne house, knows how to cultivate a stellar vintage that will impress your guests in every way—from their signature bottle style to the “pop” of the cork and the crisp, effervescent finish of the wine from a gorgeous crystal flute.

From our table to yours—Cheers!

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