France is considered to be one of the world’s most important wine regions. Visit France and you will fins a country that is rich with the history of wine yet constantly working to invigorate and innovate the process of winemaking. If you’re considering a trip to France to explore the beauty of the French countryside and enjoy the tastes of its world renowned vintages, then here are some suggestions on regions and wines that you’re bound to enjoy.
Champagne is known throughout the world as being the best and most popular type of sparkling wine. Champagne is made mainly from two varietals, black Pinot noir, and Pinot Meunier, but you will also occasionally find blends that include white Chardonnay. The use of the term Champagne is reserved specifically for sparkling wines from the Champagne region, and its protection was reaffirmed at the Treaty of Versailles after WWI. All of this means that if you’re tasting a bottle of Champagne, you can be assured you’re enjoying some of the best sparkling wine the world has to offer.
The region of Burgundy lies in the west of France, its capital being the city of Dijon. The region developed its strong roots in viticulture under the reign of Charlemagne during the 9th century AD. The region is known for housing small vineyards that produce smaller quantities of high quality wine, as well as its production of Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes, which are most famously grown in the areas of Chablis, Côte d’Or, Mâcon, and Beaujolais.
The region of Bordeaux, with its 120,00 hectares, is the largest wine-growing region in all of France, producing vintages of over 700 million bottles, which include amongst them cheap French wine and some of the world’s most famous and expensive bottles. Bordeaux is often referred to as claret in the United Kingdom, as Henry II controlled the region through marriage and provided tax-free incentives for trade with England. Today, Bordeaux wines are still amongst the most popular in the UK.
The Rhône Valley lies in the south of France, and one will quickly discover that even within this small region there are vast differences in the production of wine between the north and south of the valley. Northern vineyards produce red wines using the Syrah grape, and whites using the sweeter and aromatic Viognier, while in the south you’ll find blends of Grenache and Ugni Blanc.
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or someone who simply loves exploring beautiful landscapes, you’ll find these regions of France unique in their natural splendour and great tastes.
Image by Peter Werkman (www.peterwerkman.nl) used under Creative Commons License.