However, it is fair to say that no country comes close in terms of their contribution to wine culture globally.
Our French wine sale begins this Wednesday, April 25th and is running right through until Bank Holiday Monday, May 7th, so there can be no better time to pick up a few bottles of your favourite French wine or even to try something new.
With over 220 wines covering a wide variety of wine styles, there's something here to suit everyone.
To get you thinking, I have highlighted just a few of my French favourites below, but to see the full range, click here or even better why not drop into your local O'Briens Store where a range of French Wines will be on the Tasting Table all weekend long.
Starting with the whites, I have chosen three expressions of Ireland’s favourite grape variety, Sauvignon Blanc, all from the Loire Valley but each offering something different.
The first of these three is from the Touraine region, Domaine de la Madelaine (€9.95 down from €17.95) has fantastic aromatics of crisp green fruit and just cut grass with a lime zest fresh finish. It would make a great aperitif and will work well with most salads.
My next choice Sancerre, is a real classic of the wine world, and is considered by many to be the definitive white wine; Sophie Bertin’s example (€15.96 down from €19.95) is a very-polished single-estate Sancerre which shows a lively mix of pungent gooseberry fruit with zesty cool citrus notes and a lingering mineral finish. The classic partner for this wine is goats cheese, and boy do they work well together.
The last of these Loire whites, Domaine de Bel- Air (€15.96 down from €19.95), comes from a sustainably-farmed family-owned estate and is a benchmark Pouilly-Fumé: the firm, mineral palate has excellent balance of fine acidity with intense lemon, flint and pear flavours and a long finish. This is a wine that is crying out to be paired with some grilled seafood.
Moving on to the reds, I am starting with that ever-popular and most versatile of wines, Côtes-du-Rhône; Ortas Reserve (€9.95 down from €13.95), is a classic example with strawberry and plum fruit leading the way, but with a little tapenade like spice too adding complexity and supported by light tannins. Great on its own, this wine also works really-well with charcuterie.
To finish I have chose a seriously classy red from a Lynch-Bages owned estate, L' Ostal Cazes Estibals (€12.95 down from €16.95), is richly-textured with a wealth of bramble fruit and expensive French oak ageing, this is very polished wine and to see it at its best, I would serve it alongside a juicy char-grilled rib-eye steak.