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Basset: “People want to rediscover France”

Gerard Basset MS MW has said he believes more people are returning to French wines, especially as so many regions have upped their game in recent years.

Speaking to the drinks business, Basset said: “I think a lot of people have forgotten about France a bit. There have been so many new wines and trends over the years and I see a bit of a return to France as people want to rediscover it.”

Part of this renewed interest was also due to the work that has gone into many French vineyards recently.

Basset conceded: “Of course, 30 years ago France was the major wine country, also with Italy and Germany, but then others, especially the New World and Spain, took over and some French areas were slow to react but they have caught up.

“Winemakers have been working abroad in Australia or California and they come back with fresh ideas and they know the world is moving.

“You can see it wherever you go there, even in Bordeaux. They have a lot of money and have always been more commercial but they have invested a lot in their wineries and vineyards not just put the money in the bank and gone on holiday.”

Aside from the famous regions however, Basset said he was particularly impressed by region such as Beaujolais, the Languedoc, Jura & Savoie and Provence.

“Twenty-five years ago,” he added, “Savoie wines were what you drank when you went skiing. Now you can see very good Savoie wines sold abroad, not very many but some. You wouldn’t have seen that before.

“Provence was even more for tourists but now they produce some stunning wines.”

Basset has been running some masterclasses at the WSET as part of the “French Wines with Style” campaign to show these regions to new students and those looking for a refresher course on the country, although Basset admits it has been good for him to remind himself of what is going on in France as well.

“For me it’s very important to always learn. It’s like being a musician or a sportsman, if you stop training, stop practising, you fall behind.”

So far, two courses have taken place, the first covering Burgundy, Jura & Savoie and Alsace and the second Provence, Vin de France and Bordeaux.

The next masterclass takes place next week on Thursday 4 October and will cover sparkling wines, Languedoc Roussillon and the Loire.

The fourth and final masterclass is on 6 November and looks at the South-West, Rhône and Beaujolais.

For more information, contact Russell Dent at


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