Image of a glass of light white wine in a cellar

Light French White Wines

If you’re looking for a light French white wine on a hot summer’s day, or need the perfect pairing for a crisp salad, there are a few Honest Grapes favourites to choose from. While there’s a time and a place for buttery Burgundys (in our opinion, that’s anytime and anywhere!), sometimes you just want a glass of something light and refreshing. There are four regions renowned for producing bright whites, brimming with zing and charm – the Loire Valley, Languedoc, and Chablis. Here are four French white wines to look out for if you’re in the mood for lazing the day away on hammock by the sea.

Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley

Sauvignon Blanc finds it spiritual home here in the Loire valley – the most famous appellations being Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. These Sauvignon Blancs serve as the gold standard across the globe. These light white wines have notes of crunchy green apples, freshly cut grass, with some fragrant floral notes and elements of flint. They are zesty, crisp and lined with minerality. Try one of these beauties with a goats cheese salad dressed up with fresh herbs.

Chenin Blanc, Loire Valley

Also from the Loire, Chenin Blanc is the star of the region’s most exciting white wines in Vouvray, Coteaux du Layon and of course Saumur. An extremely versatile grape, you’ll find this is in everything from dessert wine to sparkling. It has high acidity levels, which makes it extremely food-friendly. Although light and refreshing, Chenin Blanc can take on some fuller flavours like pear and ripe golden apples, but its acidity balances it out. Expect lots of perfumed notes, herbaciousness and a splash of honey.

Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc

The rising star of France, this grape has become more popular in recent years due to its crowd-pleasing character. Picpoul de Pinet is reliably delicious, bursting with citrus, apples and some lip-smacking savoury elements. It’s an excellent match for fried seafood or on its own as an aperitif. It’s also excellent value for money!

Chardonnay, Chablis

Far from its rich and oaked sisters in the Cote d’Or, Chardonnays from Chablis radiate lean, light minerality with steely acidity and notes of pear and lemon. It’s a brilliant pairing for raw fish and sushi due to its natural salinity and estuarine qualities. A fine and respected wine, it’s an admirable take on Chardonnay that is elsewhere known to be quite full in body and flavour. Chablis is stripped back and elegant, pure and focused and amongst the most respected French white wines.

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