France wine has long been the leading wine producing Country and leading the world, that said over the last 20 years or so there has been a rapid expansion of other regions worldwide and France’s leading edge has been under attack. If you look at Chile for example they are producing some fantastic Pinot Noir’s which is of course is a leading grape in France and with the increase in popularity of wines from other Countries is naturally readdressing the volume output per Country.
During this article list wine regions France, we will explore the region’s most well-known across the Country as well as highlight some wineries and.
Wine Regions France and good vintage years
The wine regions in France in alphabetical are as follows:
- Bordeaux – 2009 was an exceptional year
- Burgundy – 2003 was a great vintage year
- Côtes du Rhone
- Loire Valley
- South West
Alsace is situated in the Rhine valley and is strongly influenced by German tradition which has also spread to the vineyards where they produce fruity or dry white wines the most popular being Riesling, Gewurtraminer (fruity wine) and Sylvaner.
The rules of Appellation Protégéé (AOP) are not implemented quite the same in Alsace as they are across the rest of the Country. The wines in Alsace are produced under the appellation of “Alsace” followed by the grape and then the vineyard or village where the product was produced. Vin de pays white wines are mainly produced from this north-east part of France.
Bordeaux personally one of my favorite regions for wine in France that produce some outstanding product which is second to none. The region has deep roots of exporting which was boosted back in the 1100’s by the marriage of queen Elanor to the English king Henry 11 really saw the export business boom as more wines were exported to England. Bordeaux is near the sea which of course bodes well for its export business.
The Bordeaux vineyard surrounds the port city of Bordeaux and stretches for approx. 100 km and is home to many areas in the appellation including Saint Emilion, Médoc, Graves, Saint-Estéphe and Pauliliac.
Bordeaux has some special regulations like no other wine-growing areas within the Country whereby they have a classification on some of their top wines which includes Saint Emilion and Medoc vineyards. I can thoroughly recommend the vineyard tour at Saint Emilion and one of which you will not be disappointed. The wines from these two vineyards can market their wines as grand cru which underlines their pure quality.
Burgundy region is a narrow area which is south-east of the Burgundian capital Dijon of course well-known for their mustard. The wines produced from the region have four categories starting at the lowest which is classed as “Bourgogne” appellation. There are some selected areas that have their own classifications in the Burgundy region such as Côtes be Beaune.
In addition, there are a number of small villages which are well known for producing some high-quality wines such as Pernand, Vergelesse, Mersault and Axone Corton. At the top of the appellation the ‘grand crus’ stand out including Clos Vougeot.
Burgundy are known for their stunning reds some of which can be cellared for 20+ years and there are a lot to choose from which does take patience but it’s a lot of pleasure in sampling what’s on offer. Its not just reds that the region does well as there are several high-quality whites.
Beaujolais is South of the Burgundy region and boarders the Rhone Valley which is known from its light red wine known as Beaujolais which is one of the most famous wines produced by France. Beaujolais is known as the young wine “vin Primeur” and is best drunk and not cellared that said this is the success of the marketing plan for the wine actually tells you and the wines are launched every November under the name of “Beaujolais Nouveau”.
The Champagne capital is the wonderful town of Reims where the main producers of this wonderful product are based. Champagnes are blended to produce vintage which includes blending with wines from the same harvest and non-vintage is blended with wines from different years.
Champagnes are promoted by producer as this is testament to the quality that they can produce as well as the gapes used. For more information please visit champagne.
Côtes du Rhone produces some well-known wines which produces in large volumes, the vineyard runs for approx. 200 km down the Rhone valley. The region also is home to some smaller areas that produce some absolute stunning wines the areas include Côte Rotie, Hermitage, Chateauneuf du pape and Gigondas.
Most of the wine sold in the region is under the appellations “Côtes du Rhone” or “Côtes du Rhone villages”.
The wines are generally blended with several grape variants such as Syrah, Grenache and Viognier. The wines from Côtes du Rhone are generally at the lower end of the price scale and appear lower on the appellation contrôlee range.
Jura the wines in this region are produced in the south of the France Comtéregion which is in between Burgundy and Saône valley.
Most wines from the region are produced with seve different grape variants however one of the best grapes Savagnin is widely used which produces arguably the best wine from the region. The wine produced from this grape delivers a sweet sherry like taste.
Dark roséwines which are often referred to as reds and the famous yellow wine called Vin Jaune which is an expensive apéritif wine are also produced from the region. The best quality yellow wine is produced by Château Chalon where they mature in oak casks for as long as 6 years minimum.
Languedoc a region to the west of the Rhone valley known for producing a lot of red wine in fact the largest by volume within the Country, most of the wine is marked as vin de pays.
AOP wines account for approx. 10% of the wines produced in the region which of course is low however there is an increase in these over recent times as the producers switch their attention more on quality rather than quantity.
The climate in the region blesses the vineyards with a good deal of sun and the extra sun ripens the grapes quicker delivering a rich and full-bodied wine high in alcohol.
White sparkling wines are produced from the region and history states that they have been producing sparking since the mid 1500’s, the oldest one of which is called “Blanquette de Limoux”
Loire Valley is France’s second largest producer of sparkling wines following Champagne and two of the most prestigious varieties are Samumur and Vouvray. Generally the Loire Valley is known for some great red
Although there are some excellent wines produced in the large Loire Valley, there are few Loire wines, whites, rosés or pale reds, that rank among the greatest French wines. “Anjou Rosé” is a good everyday rosé, and “Muscadet” and “Gros Plant” from near Nantes, the Loire estuary, are dry white wines that go excellently with seafood. Another good appellation is “Pouilly Fumé” (not to be confused with “Pouilly Fuissé”, a white Burgundy). Touraine, the area round Tours, is known for its light red wines, notably from the Gamay grape variety. The region also produces vin gris, “Grey wine”, which is actually a very pale rosé, being a white wine made from black grapes. While there are plenty of Loire wines that benefit from appellations protégées, others are sold under the vin de pays label.
Finally, the Loire valley is France’s second largest producer of sparkling wines, after Champagne. Two of the more prestigious varieties are Vouvray and Saumur.
Loire Valley includes the wine regions situated along the Loire River from the Muscadet region to the region of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in north central France. The region is host to 87 appellations under the Appellation d’origine controlôlée (AOC), Vin Délimité de Qualité Superieure (VDQS) and Vin de pays systems.
Most of the white wine production is from Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc and melon de Bourgogne grapes and red from Chinon and Cabernet franc.
Medoc is situated north-west of Bordeaux and where many prestigious French wines originate. The famous appellations include Margaux, Saint Julien, Saint Estéphe and Pauillac.
Medoc has a great heritage in producing some fine wines and in 1855 they classified 61 of their best wines in the top categories of these grands crus which included Premier Cru to Cinquiéme Cru. These grands crus are arguably the best of French wine and something we should all try a few of these at the very least.
Provence is best known for its rosé wines and is one of the largest wine producing areas within the Country. Chateaux Pradeaux and Chateau de Roquefort are two good producers I recommend trying. As well as the great Rosé wines there are some great red wines including some from the Var and the Camargue area. The Provence vineyard also includes the southern part of the Côtes du Rhone AOP area.
Please feel free to leave your comments here regarding the different wine regions of France or indeed your favorite French wines from these regions.