What's the most improved wine country? Canada would qualify but I want to talk about a much bigger player. A country that once ruled the wine world. Naturally, it’s France.

France has always operated a two tier system with its wines. Really good, expensive stuff and so-so, everyday wines. The fancy stuff created the reputation, and helped sell the lesser wines. But during the past few decades we’ve seen a decline in quality of low-priced French wines and millions of people have stopped buying them.

Another reason for poor sales has been the arrival of delicious, inexpensive wines from other countries such as Australia and Chile. But guess what? Another cycle is unfolding — everyday French wine is much improved as producers struggle for survival.

Before you dash off to the store let’s make sure you understand a few basics about French wine. It’s more reserved and less flashy than your favourite Aussie. In some instances it can be a little challenging — offering interesting character as opposed to gushy niceness. But maybe you’re tired of ‘nice’ wines!

I think you’ll find Bouchard’s wine to be an invigorating, jazzy aperitif. And don’t be scared of tartness — it’s a great feature in red wine for summer drinking. Lightly chill and follow with a richer red. Just as they do in France.

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