Winemaking of France. French wines

French wine regions, appellations and producers. Catalog-reference book of French wines with reviews and ratings.

Capital: Paris

Importance of French winemaking and wine tourism

France is a country on the model of which the wine industry of the whole world, the Old and New Worlds, was built and is being built. Here they make the best in the world, reference wines in all categories: red, white, rosé, dry, sweet, sparkling, fortified, as well as grape distillates. It is also home to the largest vineyards in the world.

Thanks to ancient traditions and active development, the wine tourism industry is no less attractive here than the traditional tourist industry. In addition, it is no less thought out: in the central village of each wine-growing commune, there is Maison du Vin – the House of Wine, where they give advice on winemaking, visit farms and restaurants, and you can also buy local wines, souvenirs, maps, books, specialties. Various wine routes are very popular, bus, bicycle, group, individual. Combined with magnificent nature, diverse landscapes, ancient wine villages that have preserved their authenticity, in which hospitable farms are located that open their doors to tourists, as well as extensive gastronomic delights, this makes it possible to relax and gain new experiences. In addition, not only cultural, but also wine, gastronomic festivals, holidays and other events are frequent here. Choose the direction of travel: where to visit in France, what to see, which wineries to visit, where else to go or go, what interesting places to visit.

French wine regions and the wines they produce

Bordeaux is located in the southwest of the country, in the region of Aquitaine. It ranks second in the world in terms of vineyard area. The city of the same name is considered the wine capital of the world. Here is a university with a reputable oenological faculty. It is customary to distinguish between two main areas - the Right and Left Banks of the Girona River. The main red grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon (Left Bank), Merlot (Left, Right Bank), Cabernet Franc (Right Bank), where red dry Bordeaux is made from them. As a rule, varieties are not indicated on the label, their permissible content is clear from the name of the appellation under which the wine is released, since winemakers achieve a certain style. The main white varieties are Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, from which dry and sweet wines are made. Sweet white with a worldwide reputation comes from Bordeaux - Sauternes, produced in the commune of the same name. The Grand Cru category is very prestigious. From the point of view of tourism, it is interesting to visit the cities of Bordeaux, Saint-Emilion and Arcachon, as well as the wine villages of Pauillac, Pomerol, Margaux, Sauternes and others, where numerous chateaus are located, which are an example of local classical architecture.

Burgundy is located in the east of the country. The main red grape varieties are Pinot Noir, Gamay (in the Beaujolais region), the main white variety is Chardonnay. Chablis is famous for its crispy whites. The Grand Cru category is very prestigious, for illustration - Domain de la Romanée Conti makes the most expensive wine in the world. Sparkling wines are used to make Cremant de Bourgogne. Be sure to visit the capital - the city of Dijon, as well as the wine capital - Beaune. Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France, adjoins the Beaujolais region.

Champagne is located in the northeast of the country. The region is famous for its sparkling wines, produced according to the classical method - champagnes. As in all of France, both the villages and the capital, the city of Reims, are worth visiting, where a huge number of wine cellars are open for visiting. The champignon method, in which double fermentation takes place in a bottle, was discovered and perfected in the 17th century by monks, the most famous of which is Pierre Pérignon, known to us as Dom Pérignon. Therefore, cellars and historical farms are often located in monasteries and abbeys. The most famous landmark is Reims Cathedral.

Valley of the Loire in the west-central part of the country stretches almost from Paris to the Atlantic coast. The main grape varieties are red Cabernet Franc, white Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, as well as Melon de Bourgogne, from which the famous Muscadet wine is made. Excellent red, white and rosé wines are produced. Very good sparkling Cremant de Loire. The Loire is great for wine tourism: you can start your trip near Paris, visit any of several dozen royal castles, the town of Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci ended his days, the magnificent Beauval landscape zoo, wine caves. And finish in the city of Nantes on the Atlantic coast, which also has something to offer travelers. For wine lovers, this is simply a paradise, and the town of Sancerre is recommended for a mandatory visit.

Alsace is located on the border with Germany and Switzerland, in the north-east of France. Winemaking is practiced on the slopes of the Vosges mountains and in the Rhine river valley. Constantly moving from Germany to France and back, the region has acquired a distinctive culture, in many ways close to German: here are pastoral landscapes, half-timbered villages and Swabian cuisine. The wines are noble and affordable, they go well with local dishes, so wine tourism is flourishing here, starting from the capital Strasbourg, as well as cities and villages such as Colmar, Riquewihr. The best grape varieties, including the Grand Cru category – white Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, red - Pinot Noir. The sparkling Cremant de Alsace received recognition.

Rhone Valley stretches along the river, which originates in the mountains of Switzerland and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The heterogeneous conditions of the northern and southern parts of its valley produce very different wines. The most prestigious reds are made in the north from Syrah. In the south, wines are made from the GSM blend, named after the main varieties, the main of which is Grenache, also Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan. The most prestigious areas of the south are Chateneuf-du-Pape for the reds and Tavel for the pinks. The main white varieties are Viognier, Rusan, Marsan, Grenache Blanc.

Provence is located in the south-east of the country, in the Alps and on the Mediterranean coast. The capital is Marseille, the resorts of Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and many towns and villages are also attractive to tourists, such as Avignon, Gordes, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Valence. Here is the scene of the film "Good Year" with intrigue around the vineyard, and tourists are also attracted by the picturesque blooming lavender fields. A visiting card is rosé wines, especially the Bandol zone is known for them. The main red varieties are typical of the south of France – GSM and Cabernet Sauvignon, they are fresh, tart. The main white varieties are also Mediterranean - Vermentino, Viognier, Grenache Blanc.

Languedoc, combined with another wine region, Roussillon, is located in the south of the country, stretching to the border with Spain. It has the largest vineyards in the world. Red wines are mainly made from the GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan). The main whites are Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Rusan, Marsan. Also in winemaking, many not only local, but also international varieties are used. Protest against globalization is strong here, so there is a powerful movement for original, natural wines. The region is considered very promising. Savoie (Savoie) is located in the south-east of France, in the foothills of the Alps, on the border with Switzerland. Being in the mountains, it has harsh conditions and a wide variety of autochthons. Of the whites, these are Altes, Jacquere, Grange, Chasselas, Molet. The local red variety is Mondez. International varieties are also cultivated. The wines here are of high quality, but local varieties are mostly drunk on the spot, so it’s better to come here for them, try with local cuisine, and at the same time admire the local beauties. The largest city is Annecy. Due to its location on the lake, it bears the title of the French mountain Venice.

Jura is a small mountainous region on the border with Switzerland. Winemaking is rustic in nature with the production of organic, biodynamic and natural wines. The leading grape varieties are autochthonous: white Savagnin, red Pulsar, Trousseau. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are also popular. They make dry reds, whites, rosés, sweets, fortified wines, and a unique yellow wine. Worthy of attention are the sparkling Cremant de Jura.

Corsica is a green island located in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and France, next to the Italian Sardinia. The business card is the Chacarello variety, from which red and rosé wines are made. Red Nieluccio (Sangiovese) and white Vermentino are also popular. Normandie (Normandie) is located in the north of France and is better known for its apple drinks - cider and Calvados, as well as tourist attractions: the island of Mont Saint-Michel, quicksand, chalk cliffs of Etretat, Rouen Cathedral. Despite the humid cool climate, grape wines are still made here. The main variety is white Auxerrois, the only red is Pinot Noir.

South-West is a vast territory that geographically includes the Bordeaux region, but excludes it as a wine-producing area due to its great independent importance. This is a very diverse area, many original wines are made here from local varieties, and there is also excellent gastronomy. Such places as the Dordogne, Perigord, Bergerac, Landes are interesting, and the Atlantic Pyrenees with the cities of Biarritz and Bayonne are actually the Basque region, bordering the Basque Country in Spain.