The phrase ‘primus inter pares’ occasionally springs to mind when thinking of French viticulture. For there might be many pretenders to this country’s greatest wines, but it still provides many of the vinous benchmarks, be they from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire, Alsace, or the Rhône. Countless winegrowers aspire, and rightly so: it was probably a French bottle that stimulated and motivated them to their chosen course. And, of course, standards have had to rise to meet many of these challengers from outside the country – there can be no resting on laurels, much to the benefit of the consumer. Allez les Bleus !