Wine – France

French wine regions

Wine Regiones France

Alsace

Alsace produces excellent dry and sweet white wines. They are so typical that the grape varieties used only grow in Alsace and nowhere else.

Location:Wine regions France - Alsace

North East of France, between the Vosges and the Rhine river

Size:

190km long and 50km wide (120 x 30 miles)

smallest region in France

Size of the vineyards:

15,000 hectares (37,000 acres)

Grapes in Alsace:

Riesling (23% of Alsace wines)

Pinot Blanc (20%)

Gewurztraminer (18%)

Tokay Pinot Gris (13%)

Sylvaner (12%)

Crémant d’Alsace (a sparkling wine)

Production:

165 million bottles

90% of Alsace wines are white

Type of Wine:

Refreshing dry and sweet white wine

Alsace Wine and Food:

Sauerkraut

Other wines from Alsace are: Vendanges Tardives (late harvest), Edelzwicker, Muscat, Pinot Noir, etc. Alsacian vinegrowers have been producing wine since the Roman conquest. The production is very exclusive among French production. It is easy to understand it from the name of the grape-varieties used for the production of the wine, such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Sylvaner.


Bordeaux

Bordeaux is probably the most well-know wine region in France. Bordeaux counts for one third of the good quality french wine (AOC, crus bourgeois, crus classés). The wines are so good there that a Bordeaux ranking is needed to classify the best of the best. Some of them are universal: Margaux, Yquem, Pétrus, Cheval Blanc, Haut Brion and all the others. Bordeaux has about 7,000 chateaux!

Location:Wine regions France - Bordeaux

In the south west of France, near the Atlantic coast, around the city

of Bordeaux

Size:

10 725 km2 (size of the Gironde department) Gironde – where Bordeaux is – is the biggest department in France

Size of the vineyards:

120,000 hectares (300,000 acres)

Grapes in Bordeaux:

Merlot (50% of Bordeaux wines)

Cabernet-Sauvignon (26%)

Cabernet-Franc (10%)

Sémillon (8%)

Sauvignon (4%)

Production:

850 million bottles

25% of all AOC in France

Type of Wine:

Full-body red wine (pomerol)

Medium-body red wine (bordeaux aoc)

Dry white wine (entre deux mers)

Sweet white wine (barsac and sauternes)

Bordeaux Wine and food:

Oysters

Pauillac Lamb

Duck with mushrooms

The best known wine terroirs in Bordeaux are:

Médoc wine region:

Médoc – Haut Médoc – Margaux – Saint Estèphe – Pauillac – Saint Julien – Listrac – Moulis

Graves wine region:

Graves – Pessac Léognan – Sauternes – Barsac – Premières Côtes de Bordeaux

Rivers wine region:

Bordeaux aoc/Bordeaux supérieur – Entre deux mers

Côtes wine region:

Saint Emilion – Côtes de Castillon – Côtes de Francs – Pomerol – Fronsac – Côtes de Bourg

Bordeaux is one of the most important wine producing regions in the world. One third of the good quality wine in France is coming from Bordeaux. It has 57 appellations, about 7,000 wine-producing châteaux, and 13,000 wine growers. The large diversity of Bordeaux suggests an equal diversity of soil.

Most of the grapes grown in the Bordeaux region for red wine are Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc which give vigour, tannin and good keeping qualities, and Merlot which brings softness and suppleness. Merlot is the most planted grape in Bordeaux, covering 50% of the wine region (see chart below).

White wines are elaborated mostly from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, and sometimes also with Muscadelle.


Burgundy

A few of the most exciting wines in the world come from Burgundy. The region begins a hundred kilometers south from Paris and spreads itself down to Lyon. It stretches on 360 kilometers (225 miles). Burgundy is a region with various soils, divided in numerous districts: Chablis, Côte d’Or (divided in Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune), Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Beaujolais.

Burgundy wines are of a velvety and subtle red or of a sensual and characteristic white.

Location:Wine regions France - Bourgogne

South of Paris, between Dijon and Lyon, the Burgundy wine region stretches

on 360 Kilometers (225 miles)

Size:

31 500 km2 (size of the Burgundy region)

Size of the vineyards:

25,000 hectares (60,000 acres)

99 wine appellations !

Grapes in Burgundy:

Red wine: Pinot Noir

White wine: Chardonnay

Production:

180 million bottles

Type of Wine:

Full-body red wine (Pommard, Corton)

Medium-body red wine (Beaune)

Dry white wine (Chablis, Chassagne Montrachet)

Burgundy Wine and food:

Red: Game,

Red Meat

White: Grilled fish, Oysters

The best known wine terroirs in Burgundy are:

Chablis

Côte de Nuits:

Côte de Nuits – Gevrey Chambertin – Clos Vougeot – Vosne Romanée – Nuits Saint Georges

Côte de Beaune:

Côte de Beaune – Corton – Pommard – Volnay – Meursault – Chassagne Montrachet

Côte Châlonnaise and Mâcon:

Givry – Pouilly Fuissé – Rully

All Burgundy region:

Bourgogne aoc – Bourgogne Aligoté

Burgundy wines are of a velvety and subtle red or of a sensual and characteristic white. The region produces two of the most popular wines in France: Beaujolais and Chablis.

Burgundy is a region with various soils, divided in numerous districts: Chablis, Côte d’Or (divided in Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune), Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Beaujolais.

The main grapes in Burgundy are Pinot Noir for red wine and Chardonnay for white wine.


Corsica

Corsica island, off the French South coast, is affectionately called “L’île de beauté” (The beautiful island). Of course, the wines produced on the island are generally delicious. Corsica offers subtle rosé and dry white wines. These wines must be drunk young, fresh, as aperitif or to accompany a light meal.

The best Corsican wines come from the coast and are:

Patrimonio

Patrimonio is the most well known Corsican wine.

Ajaccio

Ajaccio is one of the highest terroir in France.

 


Côtes du Rhône

Côtes du Rhône is probably the most diverse wine region in France. From the very different full-body red wines of Côte Rôtie in the north and Châteauneuf du Pape in the south to the exquisite white wine of Condrieu and Château Grillet and the fruity red wines of Crozes Hermitage and of the southern Rhône region.

Location:Wine regions France - Rhone Valley

In the Rhône valley, south of Lyon to the Mediterranean Sea

Size:

On 6 French departments: Rhône, Loire, Ardèche, Drôme,

Gard and Vaucluse

Size of the vineyards:

70,000 hectares (170,000 acres)

Grapes in Rhône:

Red: Grenache 55%

White: Clairette 35%

Production:

450 million bottles

14% of French wine production

Type of Wine:

Full body red wine (north)

Light to medium body fruity red wine (south)

Dry full body white wine (north)

Rhône Wine and food:

Full body red wine: roasted red meat, game

Full body white wine: grilled fish

Other red wines: beef steak, grilled white meat, etc

Wines of Côtes du Rhône can be separated into two geographic areas:

North of Côtes du Rhône:

Côte Rôtie – Condrieu – Château Grillet – Hermitage – Crozes Hermitage

South of Côtes du Rhône:

Gigondas – Châteauneuf du Pape – Côtes du Ventoux

Côtes du Rhône aoc – Côtes du Rhône Villages

Very diverse wines take most advantage of the weather and winemaking conditions of the Rhône valley. The climate in Côtes du Rhône is hot and sunny, more constant than in the other French wine producing regions. The soil is stony, mainly made of granite.

The main grapes in Côtes du Rhône are Grenache, Syrah and Carignan for red wine, Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Grenache Blanc for white wine. Côtes du Rhône is also famous for the Viognier white wine made in the northern part of the region (Condrieu, Château Grillet) which is one of the most distinctive in France.

Over 75% of Côtes du Rhône wines are red. They are generally thick, robust and their alcoholic content higher than that of most French wines.


Languedoc Roussillon

Languedoc-Roussillon covers the area on the border of the Mediterranean sea between the west of the Rhône and Camargue to the border of Spain and the Pyrénées mountains. The vineyards of this sunny region are one of the largest expanses of vine growing region in the world.

Long history of wine making and favorable natural and climatic conditions explain why wine is so important in Languedoc Roussillon. Dramatic have been made other the years to reduce the production and to improve the quality of the wine.

Languedoc-Roussillon region produces mainly red wines, a good share is “Vin de Table” but most of it is “Vin de Pays”. They are perfect as every day wines. AOC wines are very interesting to follow as the techniques, grape varieties and vineyards selected tend to improve the quality of the wine.

Location:Wine regions France - Languedoc Roussillon

On the border of the Mediterranean sea, from the Rhône river

to the Pyrénées mountains and Spain

Size:

27,400 km2 (size of the Languedoc Roussillon region)

Covering 5 departments: Aude, Gard, Hérault, Pyrénées

Orientales and Lozère (the latest is more a cheese area)

Size of the vineyards:

160,000 hectares (400,000 acres)

Grapes in Languedoc Roussillon:

Carignan

Grenache

Mourvèdre

Cinsault

Merlot

Cabernet Sauvignon

Production:

over 2 billion bottles !

Type of Wine:

Full-body red wine (Corbières, Saint Chinian)

Medium-body red wine (Costières)

Light and dry rosé (Languedoc, Roussillon)

Dry white wine (Costières, Languedoc, Minervois)

Sweet red wine (Banyuls, Carthagène, Maury)

Sweet white wine (Muscat)

Sparkling white wine (Limoux)

Languedoc Roussillon Wine and food:

Red:

Grilled red meat,

Paté, sausages and salami,

Roasted turkey

Rosé:

Salad,

Onion tart,

Omelet

Languedoc-Roussillon region produces mainly red wines, a good share is “Vin de Table” but most of it is “Vin de Pays”. They are perfect as every day wines. For the last few years significant efforts have been made to improve the quality of the wine. Today, Languedoc Roussillon has a lot to offer to any wine lovers in the world.

The 5 appellations in Languedoc Roussillon:

Corbières

Coteaux du Languedoc

Côtes du Roussillon

Saint Chinian

Costières de Nimes

Languedoc-Roussillon is the largest vine growing area in the world. From the Rhône to Spain, the wine region is several times bigger than the Australian wine region or Bordeaux.

The main grapes used in Languedoc Roussillon are:

Red:

Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have replaced other mediocre grape varieties such as Aramon and Alicante.

White:

Macabeu, Clairette, Roussanne, Marsanne, Ugni blanc, Bourboulenc. Viognier and Chardonnay have been introduced with success in Languedoc Roussillon. Chardonnay is now the most widely used grape in the region.

Sweet white wine:

Muscat blanc, Muscat romain or d’Alexandrie and Grenache

At the beginning of the 70s, it became clear that the region was not ready for the changing wine market. The quantity exceeded the demand. The quality was mediocre. The price too expensive compare to Italian, Spain and now new wine countries. Languedoc Roussillon wine makers had to change or their wine region would die. They began to use new techniques such as aging the wine in oak barrel. They replaced poor quality grape varieties with noble grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier. They selected the best vineyards and decided to go for quality. Today, Languedoc Roussillon is one of the most successful wine regions in France.


Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is famous for its white wines. None of them use Chardonnay as a main grape variety. Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon are widely used. About 75% of the production is made of white wine. Although Loire is a land of white wine, some red wines are very interesting. They are fruity and pleasant. The Loire Valley is probably the most beautiful wine region in France and in the world.

Location:Wine regions France -Loire Valley

From the Massif Central to the Atlantic coast around Nantes. The Loire

wine region follows the Loire river in its valley

Size:

n/a

Size of the vineyards:

30,000 hectares

Grapes in Loire:

Chenin Blanc

Sauvignon

Production:

400 million bottles

Type of Wine:

Dry white wine

Sweet white wine

Semi-dry white wine

Sparkling white wine

Fruity red wine

Rosé wine

Loire Wine and food:

Red:

Red meat,

Paté, sausages and salami

White:

Shellfish,

Fish,

Aperitif

The best known wines in the Loire Valley are:

West side of the Loire Valley (around Nantes):

Muscadet

Anjou Saumur:

Anjou – Coteaux du Layon – Saumur

Touraine:

Touraine – Bourgueil – Vouvray

East side of the Loire Valley:

Pouilly Fumé – Sancerre

Wine making in the Loire Valley:

The wines reflect the mood of the landscape. They are soft, pleasant, charming and light. About three quart of the production are white wines.

The main grapes are Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon for white wine and Cabernet Franc for red wine.


Provence

Provence is one of the most beautiful region in France. Eventually the region is also one of the most popular and attracts many visitors and dwellers. Provence calls to mind sun, lavender, olive tree and rosé wine. Provence vineyard is very old. The Roman were the first to grow vines there not far way from Marseille port. Caesar wrote about it in his memories.

Provence is very well known for its rosé wine. The region produces almost half of the rosé french production. However red and white wines from provence are improving and some of them can compete with the best in France

Location:Wine regions France -Provence

In the South of France, between Aix en Provence and the Rhône

valley to Nice (french riviera)

Size:

31,400 km2 in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region covering 5 departments:

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône,

Var, Vaucluse

Size of the vineyards:

27,000 hectares (68,000 acres)

Grapes in Provence:

Red and Rosé:

Grenache

Syrah

Mourvèdre

White:

Ugni Blanc

Rolle

Production:

140 million bottles

75% rosé

Type of Wine:

Dry and fruity rosé wine

also dry white wine – red wine – sweet wine

Provence Wine and food:

Rosé: Aperitif,

Salad,

Mediterranean food

Provence is known for its fresh and fruity rosé wine. Outside of the generic Côtes de Provence appellation, rosé wines are also excellent in Coteaux d’Aix or in Coteaux Varois. Wine lovers can also discover the typical terroirs of Bandol, Palette, Bellet and Cassis to taste full body red wines and aromatic white wines.

A large variety of grapes is used in Provence to elaborate wine. Among the red varieties we can count Carigan, Cinsault, Mourvèdre; among the white varieties Ugni, Clairette and Rolle.

Rosé is the great speciality of this region. Its is gorgeous, fruity and with a glistening robe. White wine is rather dry, sometimes sparkling. It goes perfectly with sea food from the nearby Mediterranean.


South West

Between the Bordeaux region and the Pyrénées, the South-West is a traditional wine region, probably even oldest than its neighbor. Wines from the South-West have often been confused with Bordeaux wines. But one must not conclude that those wines are of a lower quality. Virgil and Horatius have praised wines from South West high and sometimes low!

Nowadays wines from South West are of excellent quality for the value and should be recommended because of their unique personality based on local history and traditions.

Location:

From the edge of the Bordeaux region to the Pyrénées

mountains

Size:

Midi-Pyrénées is the biggest region in France

Size of the vineyards:

16,000 hectares (40,000 acres)

Grapes in South West:

Red: Cabernet, Merlot, Tannat

White: Sémillon, Sauvignon, Ugni Blanc

Production:

270 million bottles

3% of French wine production

Type of Wine:

Full body red wine (Madiran)

Dry aromatic white wine (Jurançon)

Viscous sweet white wine (Monbazillac)

South West Wine and food:

Red wine: Cassoulet, Roasted duck

Dry white wine: River fish, White meat

Sweet white wine: Foie gras, Aperitif

Wines from South West of France are diverse. The most important are:

Red wine:

Bergerac – Cahors – Madiran

Dry white wine:

Bergerac – Jurançon

Sweet white wine:

Jurançon – Monbazillac

South West Wine Making

South West of France is the most diverse wine region in France. It is also one of the oldest. Many grape varieties grow only in this region: Tannat, Manseng, Fer Servadou, Mérille and dozen of other varieties.

Wines from the South-West have often been confused with Bordeaux wines, which caused a lot of problems at the beginning of the century when the area of Bordeaux production was delimited.

The history and the diversity result in unfashionable wines with a lot of personality. Tannic full-body red wine in Madiran, sweet viscous of Monbazillac, intense red Cahors or aromatic dry Jurançon. The wines from South West of France have plenty of things to offer to any wine lovers.

The main grapes in South West of France are Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Merlot and Malbec for red wine. The main white grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon, Ugni Blanc

Wine – France
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