France is the capital of the wine producing world. Within the nation, there are roughly ten regions that have historically produced the majority of French wine. These ten French wine regions are Alsace, Bourdeaux, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Champagne, Cotes du Rhone, Jura, Languedoc, Loire Valley, Medoc, Provence, and South-West France.
Wine History in France
The French began to develop wine sometime in the 6th century BCE and wine was historically grown and produced in monasteries. These wine producing regions are regulated for exact growing techniques according to the Apellation d’origine controlee or, AOC, administrative body. These wine growing regions are renowned for their wine, but also for their rustic, natural beauty.
French wine is judged and categorized based off the quality of “terrior,” this is the phrase that connects the wine’s character and taste to the physical region and soil where it is grown. Within these wine regions of France there are various types and designations of grapes that produce different types of wines.
Types of French Wine
The five most common types of wines; reds, whites, roses, sparkling and fortified, are all produced in France with different regions known for certain blends of wines. For example, the Bordeaux region is known for the production of rich, red wines. Another famous region is the Champagne region of France, the only place where authentic and legally recognized champagne is produced. French wines have been grown and cultivated to be paired with food, whether that is a simple baguette and local cheese, or a more rich French dish such as cassoulet.
When considering a visit to the wine regions of France, the most famous vineyards are Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. The wine regions of France are known for their rolling, natural hills peppered with small provincial villages and old, turreted castles. Visiting the wine regions of France one can easily find secluded and charming small hotels or bed and breakfasts that add to the experience. Generally speaking, the Northern wine regions in France are known for the production of their white wines and the Southern regions are known for their reds.
Today while the international wine market, especially Californian and South American wine producers, have made gains in the global wine market, the most prized, sophisticated and pure wine is still found in these wine producing regions in France. French wine is inseparable from the terrain in which it is produced, and even as French wine makers continue to experiment with new growing techniques and capitalize on new hybrid strains of grapes, the history and mystique of the French hills infuse French wine with a priceless taste.