Wine Growing Regions France

Wine from Burgundy

Bourgogne, also known as Burgundy, is a historic province in France famous for its red and white wines, Burgundy. There are more than 90 different appellations in this region and its history goes back a long way. Viticulture in Burgundy is an important part of France's cultural history.

Over the last thirty years, the range of fruity, fresh and young red wines has expanded to include heavier and full-bodied varieties. These wines are now among the best and highest rated in Europe. The outstanding red Burgundies have warmth, fruit, character and bouquet and a unique combination of power, complexity and finesse. Burgundian whites such as the famous Chablis and Puilly-Fuissé or Côte de Nuits are also particularly appreciated.

Unlike most medium- and high-end Bordeaux wines, which are bottled by producers themselves, many small winemakers in Burgundy often do not bottle their wine themselves, but sell them to merchants (négociants) who put the wine on the market under their name as bottlers. This wine need not therefore be inferior and there are indeed a number of reputable merchants who offer excellent Burgundies, although the best domain bottlings are usually preferred here.

Burgundy covers the departments of Yonne, Côte d'Or, Saône-et-Loire and a significant part of Rhône. The diversity of soil throughout the region, the unpredictability of the weather (despite the best sunshine, climatic conditions are always variable) and the ever divergent methods of winemaking are reflected in the products, which can range from high quality to just average.

The price of a bottle from Burgundy is less considered a criterion for quality than for products from other regions.

Burgundy wines in France are classified according to a hierarchical classification system based on the appellation of origin. There are four main levels:

  1. AOC Village: Wines originating from a specific village.
  2. AOC Regional: Wines that come from a specific region, such as Chablis or Meursault.
  3. AOC Premier Cru: Wines that come from a specific Premier Cru area and are rated higher than AOC Village and AOC Regional wines.
  4. AOC Grand Cru: Wines that come from a specific Grand Cru area and are considered the best wines of Burgundy.

There is also another level, the AOP, which was introduced at EU level and has replaced the AOC. However, this classification is still widely used in the Burgundy region.

Some wineries from the Burgundy region:

  1. Maison Louis Latour
  2. Domaine Méo-Camuzet
  3. Domaine Armand Rousseau
  4. Domaine d'Auvenay
  5. Domaine Coche-Dury
  6. Domaine François Raveneau
  7. Domaine Leflaive
  8. Domaine de la Romanée Conti
  9. Domaine Guy Roulot

A list of appellations:

Entre deux Mers, Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Margaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan, Sauternes, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur, Bordeaux sec, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux, Côtes de Blaye, Côte de Bourg, Côte de Castillon, Fronsac, Canon Fronsac, La-lande de Pomerol, Listrac-Médoc, Moulis, Montagne Saint-Georges, Pomerol, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Sainte-Foy Bordeaux, Loupiac, Lussac Saint-Emilion, Cerons, Barsac, Côte de Franc, Graves de Vayres, Cadillac, Domaine d'Auvenay

Bordeaux wine region

The French wine-growing region of Bordeaux is one of the most productive wine-growing regions in Europe. Almost 6 million hectolitres of wine are produced annually, mainly red wine. But this was not always the case; in the past, white wine was also very important. Perhaps the area between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers in the west of France would not have attained its current important position on the world market if some enterprising English, Irish and Scottish people had not settled here more than 400 years ago - not as winegrowers, but as wine merchants.

The region has a long history and many châteaux that house wineries and wine houses bear names of British origin, dating back to foundations in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In Bordelais, the term "château" stands for "domaine", i.e. vineyard, although sometimes a feudal building from the era of Louis Quatorze also belongs to the estate and is often depicted on the bottle label as an antiquated graphic. Such labels are a sign of prestige and raise expectations about the high quality of the bottle's contents.

The region's mild, if changeable, climate benefits the diversity of the terroir equally.

Bordeaux wines are known for their artful assemblage of different parcels and grape varieties. The purpose of this composition is to highlight the specific character of the terroir and the wine style of the château. Most Bordeaux wines consist of at least two different grape varieties, which can be varied according to the weather pattern of a year, and often three to five. However, the grape varieties used are not mentioned on the label.

The three most important grape varieties in Bordeaux wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Petit Verdot and Malbec play a minor role. However, another variety, Carménère, which presumably descends from the Cabernet varieties and Merlot, has largely disappeared after the phylloxera crisis.

The most widely cultivated white variety in Bordeaux is Sémillon, which is particularly suitable for producing noble sweet wines. Dry white wine is predominantly made from Sauvignon Blanc, but there are also cuvées in which Sémillon dominates. Muscadelle, Ugni Blanc and Colombard also play a role, but only in top growths like Sémillon.

Top wineries from Bordeaux:

  • Chateau Petrus
  • Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
  • Chateau Maurgaux
  • Chateau Mouton-Rothschild
  • Chateau Latour
  • Chateau Ausone
  • Chateau Cheval Blanc
  • Chateau Haut Brion
  • Chateau Lafite-Rothschild
  • Chateau Pontet-Canet
  • Chateau d'Yquem

Champagne wine region - France

The choice of variety depends above all on the soil conditions. Chardonnay grows particularly well on calcareous soils with good water regulation and accounts for 28% of the cultivated area. Pinot Noir grows particularly well on harder and heavier soils in the Montagne de Reims and the Aube département and accounts for 39% of the cultivated area. Pinot Meunier prefers clay soils in the Marne Valley and accounts for the remaining 33%. There are also smaller areas planted with other authorised grape varieties, such as Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier, Arbane and Pinot Gris, which together account for 0.3% of the area under cultivation. From 2023 onwards, the use of a maximum of 5% of the interspecific grape variety Voltis will be allowed, which will allow a strong restriction in the use of fungicides.

Most winegrowers sell their grapes to large champagne houses or winegrowers' cooperatives. There is a classification of vineyards on a percentage scale that was established in 1911. The classification is based on the experience of the courtiers who determine the grape prices. The best growths are allowed to bear the designation Grand Cru. There are 17 Grand Cru communes and 44 Premier Cru communes. These account for a total of 4,400 ha and 6,000 ha of vineyards respectively. The Grand Cru communes are Ambonnay, Beaumont-sur-Vesle, Bouzy, Louvois, Mailly-Champagne, Puisieulx, Sillery, Tours-sur-Marne, Verzenay, Verzy, Aÿ, Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Oiry. The Premier Cru communes are Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Tauxières-Mutry, Bergères-lès-Vertus, Billy-le-Grand, Bisseuil, Chouilly, Cuis, Dizy, Grauves, Trépail, Vaudemanges, etc.

Wine producers in the Champagne region

  • Gosset
  • Jug
  • Piper-Heidsieck
  • Egly-Ouriet
  • Veuve Clicquot
  • Louis Roederer
  • Deutz
  • Billecart-Salmon
  • Salon
  • Ruinart
  • Pole Roger
  • Bollinger
  • Taittinger
  • Laurent-Perrier
  • Moët et Chandon
  • Dom Perignon

Languedoc wine region - France

The Languedoc-Roussillon region is France's largest wine-growing area and stretches from the Rhône to beyond Narbonne. It consists of the departments of Aude, Gard, Hérault, Lozère and Pyrenées-Orientales. In recent years, the region has made efforts to stand out and focus on quality. This has led to wines from the region gaining prominence. Some areas, such as the slopes of Pic Saint-Loup and Minervois, have become cult wines. The region produces a quarter to a third of France's wine harvest and half of France's table wines and almost three quarters of France's country wines. There are also a variety of AOC wines, including Coteaux du Languedoc, Corbières, Minervois, Clairette de Langued, etc.

Top producers in Languedoc

  • Domaine de l'Horizon
  • Domaine de Bila-Haut
  • Domaine de la Grange des Pères
  • Domaine Matassa
  • Château de Cazeneuve
  • Château de L'Ou
  • Domaine de Clos de Fées
  • Domaine Gauby
  • Clos Marie
  • Mas Bruguière
  • Domaine de l'Hortus

Winegrowing in Rhône - France

Considered one of the oldest wine regions in France, the Côtes du Rhône is a major French wine region located in the Rhône Valley, south of Lyon. It produces over a fifth of France's wine production and most of these are appealing, uncomplicated, full-bodied and soft red wines that are not particularly demanding. However, the better provenances are increasingly being highlighted. There are 17 highlighted communes that are allowed to put their name on the label as Côtes du Rhône-Villages, while another 54 communes have the right to sell their wines as Côtes du Rhône-Villages, but without any additional mention of the commune's name.

However, the best origins have their own appellation, such as Côte Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Cornas, Saint-Péray, Gigondas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac and Tavel. There are also a number of other A.O.C. wines in the Rhône Valley that are not counted as Côtes du Rhône, such as Clairette de Die, Chatillon en Diois, Coteaux du Tricastin, Côtes du Lubé

Well-known producers are:

  • Domaine de La Janasse
  • Le Clos du Caillou
  • E. Guigal
  • Michel Tardieu
  • Château Rayas
  • Jean Louis Chave
  • Paul Jaboulet Aîné
  • Famille Perrin
  • Château de Beaucastel

Winegrowing in Loire Valley - France

Wines from the Loire Valley have a rich aroma thanks to the rich soils and climatic conditions of the region, as well as the influence of the tides and the Loire River

The 5 vineyards along the Loire each have their own characteristics

Maritime climate at the vineyards of Nantes, more continental climate at the vineyards of Anjours and the regions of Saumur and Touraine, to the continental part of the wine country in the Centre-Loire region.

Soils consist of volcanic, limestone and clay rock

Variety of grape varieties in the Loire Valley

There are more than 20 varieties in the Loire Valley, some of which are local, others from the east or south-west of France

Examples: "Melon de Bourgogne", "Cabernet Franc", "Chenin", "Sauvignon".

Star wines of the Loire Valley

"Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil" (based on "Cabernet Franc") known for aromas of wild berries, raspberry, cherry and blackberry

"Vouvray" (from "Chenin") - still or sparkling, golden shimmering colour.

"Chinon" and "Muscadet" (matured on yeast)

The connection between wine and castles

Francis I introduced the "Romorantin" grape variety from Burgundy when he built the Chateau of Chambord and still cultivates it.

Well-known winemakers from the Loire Valley region:

  • Gérard Boulay
  • Domaine Vacheron
  • idier Dagueneau
  • Domaine Henri Bourgeois
  • Domaine des Roches Neuves
  • Alphonse Mellot
  • Fournier Père & Fils
  • Bouvet-Ladubay

Jura wine region - France

The Jura wine region in eastern France, stretches along 75 km of vineyards from Champagne-sur-Loue in the north to St.-Jean d'Eterux in the south. 

The region is known for its variety of wines, including reds and rosés from the Arbois, whites from the Côtes de Jura, vin jaune from Château-Chalon and sparkling wine from L' Etoile. 

Although the area is relatively small, with just under 1800 hectares under cultivation and 280 domaines, it is divided into four appellations: Côtes du Jura, Arbois, Château-Chalon and l'Etoile. The region also has a fifth appellation for Macvin de Jura and a sixth for Crémant de Jura. The grape varieties grown here are Chardonnay, Chardonnay-Savagnin, Trouissseau, Pinot Noir and Poulsard. The terrain is hilly and mountainous and consists mainly of limestone and clay soils.

Popular winegrowers in Jura - France

  • Domaine Frédéric Lambert
  • Château d'Arlay
  • Benoit Mulin
  • Henri Maire
  • Domaine du Pelican
  • Caveau de Bacchus
  • Château de l'Etoile
  • Jean Macle
  • Jacques Puffeney

Provence wine region - France

Provence is a historic province in France known for its rosé wines. It includes the departments of Var, Bouches du Rhône, Vaucluse, Alpes de Haute Provence and Alpes Maritimes and produces 9 A.O.C. wines such as Côtes de Provence, Bandol, Paleme, Cassis, Bellet and Coteaux d'Aix, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence-les-Baux-de-Provence, Coteaux varois and Côtes du Lubéron. There is also a V.D.Q.S. wine called Coteaux de Pierrevert and a few country wines from the Var department.

Provence is known for its rosé wines, which are referred to as the "youthful wines" of France, as they are drunk fresh and are not intended for long periods of storage. Red wines and white wines make up only a small proportion of production.

The Bandol sub-region has an interesting position as it is located on the coast and has a more balanced climate than inland. There are 30 independent winegrowers working here and they achieve higher annual yields than their colleagues inland. Rosé wine dominates here as well.

Top winemakers or wineries in Provence

  • Château Miraval
  • Château d'Esclans
  • Château Pigoudet
  • Domaine Ott
  • Château Minuty
  • Château La Gordonne

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