The wine regions and appellations of French wines
All about the different regions and appellations
Each year, France and Italy compete for the first place of the world's leading wine producer. Even if Italy is a very big competitor, France does not allow itself to be dethroned and it displays an image of the country of wine par excellence. If we talk about production, the French vineyard makes 3,240 different wines for 383 different appellations spread over the 80 departments and 16 major vineyards.
Apart from this significant production, France is considered internationally as the country of wine par excellence because it has a wealth of terroirs and grape varieties, a variety of soils and climates which give its wines particular characters.
We will focus on the wine regions and appellations of French wines, especially those that are the most famous.
The Loire Valley
This region is very famous because it is home to the longest river in France and prestigious castles, but also for its shimmering coat of vines.
The designation "Val de Loire" is carried by many bottles of wine , especially those produced along the bank of the river and its tributaries. The Loire Valley vineyard extends over nearly 1000 km and goes from the Massif Central to Nantes.
By tasting wines from this region, you will discover fruity notes and an impressive delicacy . The Loire Valley mainly produces dry white Loire wines, semi-dry, sweet and sweet wines and very light red wines . It also makes rosés and sparkling wines. For red wines in particular, producers mainly use Cabernet Franc, Cot, Pinot Noir and Grolleau. They use Muscadet, Chenin and Sauvignon for the production of white wines.
Among the appellations that make the reputation of this region, we can mention among others Chinon, Sancerre, Muscadet de Sèvre and Maine-et-Loire, Saumur-Champugny, Vouvray, Pouilly-Fumé, Bonnezeaux, Bourgeuil and Anjou.
The Rhone Valley
It is one of the oldest vineyards in France and is considered the second wine region of the country. This region is divided into two, including the northern Rhône valley which goes from Vienne to Valence and the southern Rhône valley which goes from Montélimar to Avignon.
- In the northern region, Syrah is grown for the production of red wine and Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne for white wine .
- On the southern coasts, there is more Grenache which is used for red wines and Clairette, Bourboulenc for white wines .
The red wines of the Rhône Valley do not all have an intense color because it can range from ruby to very dark purple. Its wines are distinguished by their lightness and their very aromatic side.
If you want to savor the wines of this region, you can choose a bottle from the selections of the most famous appellations including the AOC Côte-Rôtie, the AOC Condrieu, the AOC Ventoux, the AOC Saint-Joseph, the AOC Vacqueyras, AOC Côtes-du-Rhône, AOC Costières de Nîmes, AOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape and AOC Crozes-Hermitage.
The Bordeaux region
When talking about French wine, Bordeaux wines are often on the table . Indeed, Bordeaux's notoriety has gone well beyond the borders of France and this reputation dates back to the 18th century.
Certain names of châteaux such as Yquem, Haut-Brion, Mouton-Rothschild and Lafite are often heard when talking about Bordeaux wines and the famous Grands Crus Classés.
The Bordeaux wine region is located on the Atlantic coast on the right and left banks of the Garonne. It covers 119,000 hectares and includes 60 appellations including AOC Sauternes, AOC Saint Emilion and AOC Entre-deux-mers .
In the Bordeaux vineyards, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon are dedicated to the production of red wines and Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle to the production of white wines.
The red wines of Bordeaux are distinguished by their tannins, their aromatic intensity and their complexity in flavors . White wines are more delicate and leave a note of freshness and a floral note on the palate. This region does not produce many rosé wines but you can still find a few bottles.
The Languedoc-Roussillon region
The Languedoc-Roussillon vineyard covers 41,800 hectares and stretches along the Mediterranean coast of Aude, Gard, Hérault and Pyrénées-Orientales.
This large area produces nearly 2,000,000 hectoliters of wine per year. It was from 1970 that wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region began to make their mark. It took time for the winegrowers of this region to find the grape variety adapted to their soils and climate.
It was only in 1970 that they began to plant more noble grape varieties for their production. They then cultivate on their lands Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault for red wines and white Grenache, Bourboulenc, Muscat and Clairette for white wines .
Before any tasting of a bottle from Languedoc-Roussillon, we must then put aside its bad reputation before 1970. This region produces mainly red wines but it also makes a few bottles of rosé wines, dry white wines, sparkling wines and natural sweet wines.
The Languedoc-Roussillon vineyard includes more than twenty appellations, we can cite among others Corbières, Coteaux du Languedoc , Côte du Roussillon, Pays d'Oc, Saint-Chinian, Pic Saint Loup and the Pays d'Hérault . The latter, in particular, stands out because the collection includes red wines, white wines and rosé wines.
The Hérault wine is a regional wine appellation which designates the wines produced in the vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon, particularly in the south west of France.
The Champagne region
The Champagne vineyard is located in the former eastern French province , Champagne. It extends over the Grand Est, in particular Aube and Marne and goes as far as neighboring departments such as Aisne and Seine-et-Marne.
The Champagne region is renowned for the Champagne wine more commonly known as Champagne. It should be noted that this region does not only produce champagne. The vineyards cultivate in their field pinot noir N , pinot meunier N and Chardonnay for the production of sparkling wines, red wines, rosé wines and white wines . The entire territory makes more than 2,500,000 hl of wine per year.
If you want to savor the best wines of this region, you can refer and find a bottle from the AOC Champagne, the AOC Coteaux-Champenois and the AOC Rosé-des-riceys.
The Beaujolais region
The vineyards of the Beaujolais region is located in the north of the Rhône department and there is also part of the vineyard in some communes of Saône-et-Loire.
The Revue du Vin de France defines the Beaujolais vineyard as the most sensual of vineyards . It is over 40,000 hectares and extends along the Mediterranean coast. This region produces nearly 2,000,000 hectoliters of wine every year.
In the shelves of wines from the Beaujolais region, there are bottles of red wines, white wines and rosé wines.
In the Beaujolais vineyards, winegrowers grow Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault for the production of red wines and white Grenache, Bourboulenc, Muscat and Clairette for the production of white wines.
Beaujolais has a dozen appellations and Beaujolais Nouveau primeur wine is not one of them.
The Burgundy region
When we talk about the Burgundy vineyard , we are talking about the vineyards in the center-east of France. They extend over several kilometers from Auxerre to Mâcon. The Burgundy region is divided into 5 sub-regions including Chablis and Yonne, Côte-de-Nuit, Côte-de-Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais.
Its production makes up nearly 3% of the French AOC vineyard and among the largest appellations, we can mention among others the AOC Volnay, the AOC Mâcon, the AOC Romanée Conti, the AOC Nuits-Saint-Georges, the AOC Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise and the AOC Bourgogne Côte d'Or .
In the collection of Burgundy wines, there are white wines, red wines, rosé wines and crémants. For these productions, the winegrowers mainly use Pinot Noir N, Gamay N, Chardonnay B and Aligoté B. There are also other grape varieties on this territory such as pinot gris G, césar N, melon B, sauvignon B and pinot blanc B .
The region of Provence
This region is distinguished by its lavender fields, its pine forests, its olive trees, but also by its vineyards.
The Provence vineyard covers nearly 30,000 hectares and covers 4 departments including Bouches-du-Rhône, Var, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes Maritimes. On these fields, we find Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan, Tibouren, Cabernet Sauvignon which are dedicated to the production of red wines and rosé wines .
The winegrowers also cultivate Semillon, Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Ugni Blanc for the production of white wines.
This region is best known for the production of fruity and generous rosé wines, but it also presents powerful and full-bodied red wines as well as very ample white wines with great delicacy.
In this vineyard, the following appellations and geographical denominations are well known: AOC Côtes-de-Provence, AOC Bandol, AOC Coteaux-d'Aix-en-Provence and AOC Pierrevert.
The Jura region
The Jura vineyard covers the department of Haute-Saône, Doubs and Jur a over nearly 80 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide.
It produces nearly 90,000hl of red wines, rosé wines, white wines, sparkling rosé, white, brut and typical wines that are better known under the name "Crémant de Jura", yellow wines, straw and macvin de Jura.
In the vineyard fields, Savagnin, Chardonnay, Poulsard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir are mainly grown for these productions.
In this region of the Jura, there are 6 controlled designations of origin including the AOC Côtes du Jura, the AOC Crémant du Jura, the AOC Macvin du Jura, the AOC Château-Chalon, the AOC Arbois and the AOC Etoile.
The Alsatian region
The Alsace vineyard extends over a large part of the length of the Alsace region , between the Vosges massif and the Rhine plain. This region is particularly known for its white wines under the appellations Alsace and Alsace grand cru . It also produces sparkling wines, rosé wines and red wines.
It is also the Alsatian vineyard that gives us the eau-de-vie and the marc of Alsace. The wines of the Alsatian vineyard are sometimes powerful and this is explained by the main grape varieties used, including Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Noir .
In the vineyards, there are also other grape varieties such as pinot blanc, pinot gris, sylvaner, muscat, chardonnay, Chasselas and roussanne . The vineyard of this region has three wine appellations including the AOC Alsace Grand Cru, the AOC Alsace and the AOC Crémant d'Alsace.
The Savoyard vineyard
The French wine region of Savoie is found in the departments of Savoie , Haute-Savoie and in some communes of Ain and Isère. The Savoyard vineyard covers approximately 2,200 hectares and produces just over 16 million bottles each year.
In the fields, the winegrowers mainly grow Jacquère B, Roussanne B, Altesse B, Chasselas B, Gamay N and Mondeuse N . In the Savoie region, still white wines, red wines, rosé wines, sparkling wines and sparkling white wines are produced under the AOC Savoie or Vin de Savoie. Apart from the AOC Savoie, there is also the AOC Roussette de Savoie and the AOC Seyssel.
The Lot et Garonne region
The Agenais vineyard is one of the common geographical names of the Lot-et-Garonne vineyard. It extends over the department of Lot-et-Garonne, particularly in the towns of Duras, Marmande, Agen, on the banks of the Dropt and the Garonne and near Castelsarrasin.
On nearly 6000 hectares, the winegrowers use for their production of red wines and rosé wines Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Côt, for their production of white wines Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle .
To these main grape varieties, can be supplemented from time to time with local varieties such as Malbec, Fer Servadou, Abouriou and Tannat which distinguish their drinks. In this region, there are 4 AOCs, including the AOC Côtes de Duras, the AOC Côtes du Marmandais, the AOC Buzet and the AOC Brulhois.