Sometimes I get asked for a suggestion for a light, crisp style of Chardonnay and I excitedly recommend a Chablis. The response is often: "oh, I didn't think of that!"
French wines can sometimes be overlooked or misunderstood because the label does not clearly state "Chardonnay" (or whatever the grape may be). This inspired me to write a blog post explaining a couple of some more common French wine labels out there.
Bourgogne or Burgundy
There's a red and a white aka Bourgogne Rouge or Bourgogne Blanc. The red is made from the Pinot Noir grape, and the white from the Chardonnay grape. Some of these wines are named by their subregion that is within that area (like Chablis), but the grapes are still the same!
Bordeaux! Red and White
For the red, this wine is going to be a blend. It will either be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant or Merlot dominated depending on where it's grown in Bordeaux, and can be a blend of up to five grapes. These blends produce heavy red wines that will go great with your steak dinner!
Almost a complete opposite in style, the whites produce light and fruity, crisp wines that are mostly blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. I love to suggest this wine to Sauvignon Blanc lovers! This wine is very refreshing on its own, but can be enjoyed with salads, seafood and pasta dishes.
Bordeaux also produces some of the best white dessert wine in the world called Sauternes.
Again, these wines are simply labeled after their region, once you understand the style of wine produced there, it becomes much more approachable.
I hope this simplifies things a bit, and inspires you to drink more French wines! Although their names are fancy, they can be enjoyed any day of the week!