4 Real French People Share Their Everyday Wines

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

There are few things as synonymous with French living as wine, enjoyed as much for everyday moments as for special occasions. And while preferences run deep —as deeply as those for cheese, coffee, and chocolate — you might be surprised by what real people pour on a daily basis.

My (French) husband and I always have a bottle of red wine on hand, but our selection isn’t based on oenological expertise or extensive experience traveling through wine regions. We simply identified the types of reds we like — full-bodied and velvety, with subtle notes of berry or spice — and then leaned on local wine merchants to guide us in the direction of regions or producers that would satisfy those tastes.

Some of our friends, however, are more loyal to specific appellations — not all of them French. I spoke with four different French natives about their favorite everyday wines.

They Drink Foreign Wines

Elodie, an entrepreneur, says, with the exception of bottles gifted to her, “I have virtually no French wines at home — only foreign wines. Eighty percent are Italian, and the rest are predominantly Greek and Argentinian.”

She also has a proclivity for natural wines, and her very favorite is a sparkling Italian wine, Malvasia, from the Domaine La Stoppa. “I had the opportunity to drink it a couple of years ago at the restaurant Roseval in Paris,” she explains. “I looked for it everywhere for months; I even wrote to the domaine to see if they would sell it to me directly, but they only sell to professionals.” Finally, she says, “I managed to unearth a small little Italian wine merchant on the left bank and now, whenever I go, I bring a big crate to stock up. I try not to think of the day they no longer have it!”

More Wines to Try

They Play Favorites (Which Includes Rosé)

Thibault, a photographer, is partial to wines from Bourgogne, where he is from, although he notes that, “despite my proximity to such an iconic terroir, I learned later in life to appreciate red wine.” He doesn’t have a favorite wine maker, but he says, “it’s an added benefit when the bottle is also marked with the tag ‘grower’ (récoltant).” He also adds, “I would love to have a robust cave at home, but apéritifs with my friends make any attempt at holding onto bottles a real challenge!”

His top picks are Chassagne-Montrachet and Mercurey, and he also confesses to “a weakness for a bottle of perfectly chilled rosé. I recently tried (and loved) the rosé from Château de Sainte Roseline — a delight!”

More Wines to Try

They Seek Counsel

For Fiona, a translator, the secret to a good bottle of red is “to follow the advice (or rather, the commands!) of my wine merchant, Eric Macé, to a T. He’s amusing if a bit scary, but always offers smart recommendations, like an organic Côtes du Rhone from the Domaine Grand-Père Jules, which is very good and easy to drink for a natural wine (unlike some natural wines ,which can be a bit too rustic and astringent).”

As for whites that her wine merchant recommends, she’s partial to Entre-deux-Mers. “I like having having a bottle chilling in the fridge,” she says. “It’s a white wine that goes very well with oysters and fish.”

More Wines to Try

They Always Have a Bottle of Bubbly on Hand

Of course, if you live in Reims, in the region of Champagne, like Camille, a press manager, does, “it goes without saying that I (like all locals) always have a bottle of Champagne in the fridge, just waiting to be opened. While it doesn’t require a special occasion, despite the luxurious image that Champagne evokes, you can be sure we won’t be drinking Champagne from the big houses like Veuve Clicquot or Pommery, which are too expensive for everyday consumption.”

For her, it’s all about the region’s small producers, like “Champagne Gardet, a family operation founded in 1895, and Champagne Boulard-Bauquaire, an independent winemaker whose Champagnes I adore. Many of the options in their ranges are affordable, which make them great for a weeknight get-together.”

More Wines to Try

What’s your everyday wine? Is it something bubbly?