Any beginner wine enthusiast should learn that great wine is produced only under hospitable environmental conditions. There are several great wine-producing regions of the world whose reputation is far from hype – these are the areas in which grapes are grown in optimal weather conditions, which produces top quality wines. Here is an introduction to one of the great wine regions of the world – France.
France is a country brought to mind when one hears the topic of wine being discussed. It definitely produces enough wine to merit that distinction. Producing nearly 8 billion bottles of wine per year, France represents a large share of the world’s wine market. One thing to note is that wine regions are actually recognized and regulated by the French government. This means that these wines are inspected and must have the proper characteristics of the respective regions’ reputation. Each wine region in France is known for producing different and distinct wines; even if those wines are made from the same type of grape. This idea is the basis for the terroir concept (a term that loosely translates to “special characteristics of the land.”)
Here is a brief overview of the large wine regions of France. When looking for recommendations for great tasting wines, be aware that there are smaller wine-producing regions that are not represented on this list.
The Alsace region is located on the river Rhine, in the eastern part of France close to Germany. Alsace is known primarily as a white wine region although it does produce some reds. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Muscat are some of the grapes grown in this region.
Bordeaux, a primarily red wine region, is located along the Atlantic coast of France. The oft exported wines from this region are usually blended from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and sometimes Cabernet Franc.
Burgundy, or Bourgogne as it is sometimes called, is located in the eastern part of France. It is a region where red and white wines share equal billing. Burgundy is broken down into four “sub” regions: Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonnaise and Maconnais. The two main grape varieties used in Burgundy are Chardonnay for white wine and Pinot Noir for red.
Located close to Belgium and Luxembourg, Champagne is the home of France’s world-famous sparkling wine. Champagne also produces smaller quantities of still or non-sparkling wines.
Corse, or Corsica is a French wine region that is located on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. The wines here are mostly table wines that are made for consumption on the island itself. A wine tasting tour may be in order to sample their offerings.
Jura is located in the mountains of France close to Switzerland. Like Burgundy, most of the wines from produced in Jura are made from two grapes: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Located along the southern border, Languedoc-Roussillon is the region that produces most of France’s table wines. Mostly due to it being the largest region in terms of vineyard surface.
The Loire Valley is located in central and western France, along the Loire River. It is mostly a white wine region with many vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc grapes growing along the river basin.
Provence and Rhone are located along the Mediterranean coast of France. They are both very warm and mainly produce rosé and red wines.
Savoy is a French wine region that is located in the Alps and produces mostly white wines that are made from grapes that are unique to this region.
South West France earns a reputation for producing a nice variety of red and dry, sweet white wines.
Now that you have been introduced to the famous French wine regions, take the next step to visit our website for more information on vino! Wine Beginners is the ultimate source of information and recommendations for the aspiring wine enthusiast. Thanks in advance for visiting our site!