December brings us all the chance to enjoy piping hot mulled wine or simply relax over the festive period with a classic bottle of red. To celebrate the end of 2021 in style, we wanted to showcase one of our most popular silk pocket squares - The Wine Regions of France.
This beautiful fine drinking map of the principal wine regions of France was made by Mary Holdsworth c.1950. It was issued by the houses of Ayala Champagne, Croizet Brandy and Rocher Liqueurs and sold by The International Wine Library, booksellers to the wine and spirit trade in Montreal, Canada. It is a very unusual and highly decorative map portraying each key region of wine producers.
Did You Know? - the vineyards within France are responsible for producing between seven and eight billion bottles of wine a year.
WHY IS FRANCE SO FAMOUS FOR FINE WINE?
France is synonymous with fine wine and traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France's regions dating their winemaking history to Roman times. The wines produced range from some of the most expensive wines sold internationally, to more modest wines usually only seen within France, such as the Margnat wines which were developed during the post-war period.
Any wine fan or regular drinker will recognise the likes of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne through their historic winemaking traditions. However, wines are commercially produced in every region of France except those along the north coast. This rich and extensive heritage means France produces over 3,000 different wines across two million hectares of vineyards.
You may think this makes France the biggest producer of wine globally. However, the country comes a close second behind its European neighbour Italy. Italy was in fact the leading producer and export volume of wine in 2020. It managed to produce an incredible 49.1 million hectolitres of wine last year, with France just behind at a not too shabby 46.6 million hectolitres.
Generally speaking, the French wine region's map can be divided into northern vineyards that are reputed for white wines and southern vineyards that are more renowned for their reds. The main wine areas portrayed on the pocket square highlighted in yellow and red print are Bordeaux, Burgundy, Languedoc, Champagne, the Loire Valley, Alsace, Rhône, Provence and Corsica.
SOME OF THE FAMOUS FRENCH WINE REGIONS
Below we explore the regions featured on our stunning silk pocket square map and what makes them so exquisite.
A classic wine region that sits on the Atlantic coast is among the most famous wines. This region primarily produces red wines, including the world-renowned chateaux in the Medoc sub-region, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. The wines made here are typically blends using Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and sometimes Cabernet Franc.
Also known as 'Bourgogne', red and white wines share equal prominence in the east. Unlike others on the French wine region map, Burgundy places its most significant emphasis on 'terroir' in producing two main grape varieties, Chardonnay for white wines and Pinot Noir for the reds. The finest wines from the Côte d'Or are among the most prestigious and expensive in the world.
Champagne is situated close to Belgium and Luxembourg and is the most northern and coldest of the French wine regions, the choice for any New Year's eve toasts this festive season. In 2019, Champagne houses shipped 297.6 million bottles globally, with the lion's share destined for the United States and valued at more than $753 million.
The Loire Valley offers some of the most scenic vineyards found anywhere in France, with some accompanying the grounds of majestic castles. White wines dominate the area, from dry Chenin Blanc wines to tangy Sauvignon Blancs and light Muscadets.
Côtes du Rhône
A famous wine region that is arguably more renowned for the extent of its production than the quality of its wines, although it is home to the highly regarded Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Generally, most wines are Mediterranean blends using classic southern grapes, including Grenache, Viognier, and Syrah.
This region also has religious links to the Catholic faith. It may come as a surprise, but 'Châteauneuf-du-Pape' translates to 'Pope's New Castle’. This is because in 1317, one year after his election, Pope John XXII ordered the construction of a castle at the top of the hill above the village. The creation of this magnificent structure put the small village on the map as both the home of the Pope and as a viticulture centre in the southern Rhône Valley.
THREE WAYS TO WEAR THIS POCKET SQUARE
The silk hand-rolled pocket square is light in colour, with beautiful cream tones defining the map. The neutral backdrop creates a lovely contrast with the highlight colours of yellow and red to wear perfectly with multiple items as described below.
Match With a Grey Jacket
Most of our pocket squares suit our grey made to order tailored jacket as this classic menswear item is very versatile and wearable across smart and casual uses. The artwork has a lovely cream base colour combined with pops of red and yellow to create a neutral palette that works beautifully with a grey textured backdrop.
As demonstrated in the second image below, the cream setting within the silk alongside the highlighter tones really creates a visual and eye catching pocket square when paired with a darker jacket to ensure you will stand out.
Combination colour dressing is a current and creative way of combining the same colour across different tones, fabrics and hues to match any outfit and tie together. In this instance, we would create a complementary ensemble by pairing it with our Crimson Red Wool Cashmere Tie.
This classic wool-blend handmade tie in a true deep red works superbly with this pocket square due to the highlights of red in the silk print. It also pairs beautifully with a brown jacket for an authentic tonal look.
Style with Winter Cashmere
To celebrate and embrace the current winter weather, why not style with some of our stunning cashmere collection. Our cashmere scarves are handmade and use only the finest quality fibres from the peaceful Cashmere Goat.
Pair with a brown or grey check scarf to the colour of the pocket square. We suggest our Burgundy Cashmere Scarf as it’s made from the finest cashmere woven in England. This luxurious scarf is very soft, made with fine fibres woven by experts to keep you warm.
What Makes Our Pocket Squares So Special?