14 Classic French Wines For Late Summer Drinking

It's surprising that the map of France isn't shaped like a cornucopia, considering it overflows with a diversity of good to excellent wines. That's no surprise, but in our justifiable eagerness to try newer wines from around the world, we sometimes forget the central role that the country has played in teaching the world to drink — and drink well.

This collection of 14 wines emphasizes that point, especially the six very good Beaujolais at quite nice prices. But let's start with a splash of Champagne.

Taittinger Brut la Francaise Champagne NV ($54). Golden flavors of toasty brioche with good minerality. A little light-bodied in mid-taste, but it finishes with a satisfyingly clean finish.

Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Reserve 2014 ($9). Mainly grenache blanc, this white is soft and a little oxidized, though pleasantly so, with dried apple flavors.

Ferraton Samorëns Côtes du Rhône White 2015 ($14). Assertive body with mellow apple tastes and lots of pleasant "oomph."

Les Vignerons de Tautavel "Le Cirque" Côtes Catalanes Grenache Gris 2013 ($15). There's a little bit of oiliness in nose; the wine is light and tart with green apple notes and a yogurt finish — but it tastes much better than it sounds.

Ferraton Samorëns Côtes du Rhone (red) 2014 ($14). Bright red fruits, good body, and lots of oakiness.

Domaine de Théron Prestige Cahors 2011 ($15). Nice food malbec, savory, and a little gamy with muddled flavors of cherry and mulberry.

Georges Duboeuf Domaine des Pontheux Chiroubles 2015 ($19). An excellent grilling wine with tangy, almost grenache-like raspberry flavor, and a firm structure.

Joseph Drouhin Hospices de Belleville Morgon 2014 ($21). Very fruity, tangy, and medium-bodied, with cherry-strawberry flavors. Quite good.

Château Gigault Cuvée Viva Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2010 ($22). Satisfying with cherry flavor blended well with savory notes; light-bodied, but well-structured.

Georges Duboeuf Clos des Quatre Vents Fleurie 2015 ($22). Complex with a good blend of savory and black and red fruit tastes.

Georges Duboeuf Morgon 2015 ($22). Smoky with very bright fruit; a little tart — well-suited for appetizers.

Joseph Drouhin Hospices de Belleville Brouilly 2014 ($23). Fairly firm and medium in body with dark cherry and savory flavors. It reminds a bit of a firm pinot noir.

Joseph Drouhin Hospices de Belleville Fleurie 2014 ($25). A complex wine with very good structure and tangy cherry fruits balanced by savory flavors.  

Château Lassegue Les Cadrans de Lassegue St-Émilion 2012 ($29). A little thin in texture with bright fruit flavors, mainly of red fruits.