It is no secret that France has some fine wines. When it comes to vines and wines, rarely does this country not make it to a list. Today, in this French wine regions guide, we will look at the homes of some of these fine wines and get a glimpse of just what exactly makes these wines fine.
All About the French Wine Regions
France, without a doubt, is one of the leading countries in the wine world. For starters, this country offers around 3,000 different types of wines.
To add, it gives billions of liters of it yearly. Finally, it makes and houses some of the best wines in the wine world. With that, one could say wine literally runs in the veins of this country.
The history of wine and winemaking in this country goes centuries back. Something that should not be surprising given that this land offers favorable conditions for growing grapes. In other words, the gold was already there for the taking. It only needed to be taken.
Despite the abundance of natural resources, France did not stop there. Through the years, it has continued to evolve and continues to do so.
However, it constantly tries to improve while preserving what made its wines great, with the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system and certification being one of the means to do so.
The whole of the French wine region has many wines to give. However, the different regions, with their varied grapes, terroirs, and winemaking processes and styles, offer different kinds of wines. With that, let us look at some of the most famous French wine regions and their wines.
The 10 French Wine Regions to Know
Vallée De La Loire
Found in the southwestern part of the country is Bordeaux, and it is our first stop. If the mitochondria is the cell’s powerhouse, one can consider Bordeaux to be the powerhouse of the French wine region. It is the largest of the wine regions of the country and one of its pillars.
It is one of the country’s best wine regions because of its location. For one, this area offers favorable conditions with its temperate climate and rich clay and gravely soils. However, that is not all that makes the location of this region advantageous. On the other hand, as this region is near the coast, trading is easier.
Generally, Bordeaux is known for its red wines. While it also has other types of wines, it is the reds that shine best.
Technically, a Bordeaux wine is any wine from this region. However, generally, when one talks of the Bordeaux wine, one means a red wine with a blend of the three favorite red grape varieties in this region – the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Usually, the Bordeaux wine is full-bodied.
2. Vallée De La Loire
From the southwest, let us go to the northwestern part of the country to Vallée De La Loire. This region is undoubtedly a sight to see, with all the lovely vineyards and castles littering the area.
The region can be further divided into three, and these subregions have different terroirs, making it hard to give the whole Vallée De La Loire a general profile.
Generally, this region is known for its white wines. However, you can also find some lovely reds, rosés, dessert wines, and sparkling wines here too.
The Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most beloved wines in the wine world. It is a white variety known to be light and dry, highly acidic, and barely tannic. It has moderate levels of alcohol, making it a wine to consider for parties and such. When it comes to notes, many simply refer it to be green.
Alsace is in the eastern part of the country. It has warm summers and cold winters. In between, it has low levels of rainfall.
The region has Germanic roots, and is best known for white German wines like the Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
The Riesling is a white wine that can be sweet or dry. It is light with moderate levels of alcohol. On the other hand, it is highly acidic but barely tannic. As for its notes, you can expect it to have flavors and aromas of citrus fruits.
Try pairing it with one of the region’s famous dishes – tarte flambée!
Champagne is the northernmost wine region of the country and one of the pillars of the French wine regions. When it comes to sparkling wines, it is likely the region that would first come to mind, and rightly so. It is the first one to make them, after all!
Champagne is one of the most famous wines out there that non-wine drinkers will probably know it too. It is a sparkling wine. It is light and dry, with high levels of acidity and almost non-existent levels of tannicity. On the other hand, it is moderately alcoholic and has fruity notes.
Burgundy, also known as Bourgogne, is in the eastern part of France. It is best known for only two grapes, but make no mistake!
It has some of the best wines, not only in the French wine regions, but in the whole wine world! With that, it should not be surprising to know it has some of the most complex and strict rules in the wine world. It has a title to keep, after all!
Along with Bordeaux and Champagne, it makes up the pillars of the French wine regions.
The Pinot Noir is a red wine with a light hue. It is dry but low in tannins. On the other hand, it is medium-bodied with moderate levels of acidity and alcohol. As for its notes, it is an array of red things. That is red-colored fruits, flowers, and spices.
In the south of Burgundy is Beaujolais. This region is the home of the Gamay grapes and is known for its easy-to-drink reds. As Beaujolais is near Burgundy, the two have similar climates, with the former being only slightly warmer.
The Beaujolais wine is a red wine. It is dry, with an average body. On the other hand, it has low tannins, high acidity, and moderate levels of alcohol.
When it comes to notes, it has red berry flavors and aromas. It bears some semblance with Pinot Noir, which should not be surprising given that the two are grape neighbors.
7. Rhone Valley
Rhone Valley is the second of the largest wine regions in France. It can be divided into the north and south side, with the two sides sporting different styles and wines. Despite that, the whole of Rhone Valley is best known for its reds.
The Syrah is a red wine and one of the darkest ones you will likely come across. It is dry and full-bodied.
On the other hand, it has high levels of tannins and alcohol but only an average level of acidity. As for its notes, it sports dark flavors and aromas such as black pepper, blackberry, and licorice.
For years, while other wine regions have been known for their quality, Languedoc-Roussillon was known for quantity. However, recently, this wine region has also joined the quality race.
The Grenache is a red wine. It is dry and medium-bodied, and like its body, it has medium levels of tannicity and acidity too. However, it has one of the highest alcohol levels. When it comes to notes, it has flavors and aromas of various berries, fruit rinds, and herbs.
On the eastern part of the country is Jura. It is the smallest wine region in the country. However, do not count it out. It is the wine region to check out if you want some peculiar wines!
The Vin Jaune is a white wine that is yellow. It is dry and medium-bodied. On the other hand, it has low tannins and high acidity. Like the previous wine, it also has high levels of alcohol. It might be easy to enjoy this wine, but you might want to be careful when you do!
Finally, we have Provence. It might be the last on this list, but it is undoubtedly not the least.
This southeastern region is the oldest of the wine regions on this list. However, that is not all there is to this region. It is also known as the land of the rosé and is the only wine region focused on its production!
As you might already know, the rosé is not a specific wine. Instead, it is a type of wine. It can be dry or sweet, with high or low tannicity, acidity, and alcohol, but it is almost always light-bodied. It might not be the most preferred type today, but it is the oldest type known.
Today, we took you on a tour of the 10 French wine regions to know. We hope our French wine regions guide was able to help you get to know French regions and their wines better.
However, the French wine region is not the only one to get to know. If you want to know the others, you might want to check out our other talks!