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Wine Regions in France

There are numerous different wine growing areas in France and lets face it, you cannot contemplate going on holiday to France without experiencing some of the local French wines from the area you are in.

Champagne's vineyard area has around 14,000 growers and 300 villages spread across three main growing areas and although around 5,000 growers do bottle some of their grape production under their own label the majority of the annual grape production is purchased by the Champagne houses or co-operatives and blended into the famous brands or the supermarket labels that we have all come to know.

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Wine Regions in France

This area is a great place to experience some of the best champagnes although you can find smaller growers who produce champagne that are well under half the price you would pay for the top brands, yet still have the same finesse we have all come to expect from a fine champagne.

The Loire Valley is a massive wine producing region that stretches from the coast near Nantes where you can get Muscadet wine, right through to Saumur, Anjou and Vouvray where you will experience wines of Cabernet Franc and Gamay reds or travel to the Touraine where can get reasonably priced Sauvignon Blancs.

And the beautiful chateaux and the tranquil winding river make the Loire region one of France's most visited areas for experiencing wines and fine French food to accompany them with the stunning backdrops so synonymous with this region.

For hundreds of years Bordeaux has had a long and internationally famous history of quality winemaking, but unfortunately the demand often outstrips what the wine growers can produce and therefore the top chateaux can charge very high prices for their wines, although you can still pick up a good value Bordeaux wine whilst you are on holiday in France, if you travel to the outskirts of the region, like Graves or Cote de Castillon, and visit the smaller grape growers.

The Burgundy region in France is famous throughout the world for its Chardonnay whites and Pinot Noir reds and this region produces numerous different tasting wines, even though they are from the same grape, but this is due to the wine making practices of the growers and the area they are in for example the change in climate.

The best whites include wines from Chablis and the more full bodied wines from the villages of the Cote de Beaune, yet if you travel further South to the Cote Chalonnaise, there are elegant chardonnays but at a far cheaper cost than the famous wines of the North.

The villages of the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune produce some excellent Pinot Noir red wines, although there are some very enjoyable red wines produced as far north as the Cotes d'Auxerre near Chablis and are low in tannins, plus when young taste soft and fruity.

Beaujolais was once just as famous as Burgundy for its wines with vineyards priced extremely high, but it has in some ways become a tainted reputation due to the nouveau wines that were pioneered by George Dubeouf.

This area has the Gamay grape, which makes low tannin red wines that are traditionally either light or medium bodied, whereas the wines from older vines are more full bodied and take on a flavour similar to that of Pinot Noir.

Beaujolais is a very picturesque area with lovely little hamlets to be discovered and is a popular tourist destination for walking and cycling holidays - perfect when you don't want to be caught for drink driving!

The Rhone Valley starts just south of Lyon and the vineyard area continues down the river valley before it spreads out around Avignon.

The grape of the Northern Rhone is the Syrah, but there are villages in the hotter South such as Chateuneuf du Pape that make extremely dense full bodied red wines that will last for years, but there are also some lesser know areas such as the Cotes de Ventoux, where you can find some reasonably priced yet good quality reds that are a perfect accompaniment to the French cuisine of the area.

The Languedoc region in France is one of the biggest wine producing regions and to put this into perspective, it has over two times more land planted to vines than the whole of Australia!  But in the past it has had a reputation of low quality, although this is starting to change and the red wines from this area are usually characterised by scents of wild herbs that grow all over the region.

The best quality red wines are made away from the coast on the slopes of the Haut Languedoc range along with the Corbieres area that also produces good quality red wine, but if you prefer a white wine, then the vin de pays can be obtained from vineyards between Pezenas and Beziers.

Roussillon, with its hot climate and old vines found in the valleys is probably the most diverse and exciting wine region in France, as the styles vary immensely from floral whites through to rosés, and full bodied spicy reds through to the famous dessert wines like the Muscat.


Wine Regions in France



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