Where to start with French wines? Where they're made, of course!
Here's an introductory map explaining a bit about France's premiere wine regions and you can always ask our Wine Stewards for more! A few French label terms to keep in mind before we start: Domaine refers to a producer making wine from grapes grown in their own vineyards. Château indicates that the wine is made from a defined piece of land.
Bordeaux is the largest wine producing region in France. It is home to many of the most prestigious names in fine wine, and produces some of the greatest dry red and sweet white wines in the world.
The Loire Valley has a special place in the affections of visitors to France. It has one of Europe's most congenial climates, world-famous Chateaux and wonderful cuisine. And, of course, its vineyards produce a bigger variety of wines than any other wine region in the world, always delicious and in good years, amongst France's greatest vintages.
The only wine region in the world that focuses exclusively on sparkling wine, Champagne is intrinsically linked to the spirit of celebration. Making an asset of its cool, marginal climate, it is the benchmark against which all other sparkling wines are judged.
Alsace is one of France's best kept secrets and the tiny region has its own distinct character. Much of its charm lies in its fairytale towns and villages — narrow cobbled streets, Gothic churches, cool fountains and bright flowers. Almost everywhere has a wine cave and some villages have vintages that can't be produced anywhere else.
From the fertile basin around Auxerre, in the northwest, and the ancient massifs of Morvan and Charolais in the south, Burgundy is a wonderfully diverse region. It's been synonymous with “gastronomy and good living” since Roman times and, the limestone plateau of La Côte, some of the world's most expensive wines.
The Rhône Valley stretches from Vienne in the north to the Midi in the south. It produces an impressive range of wines from excellent everyday wines to super premium. Production is overwhelmingly red, although there are many top quality white and rosé' wines, too.
Provence is magical — filled to the brim with interest and graced with more than 300 days of sunshine a year. It's a rich mix of pretty villages, colorful markets, beautiful scenery and fascinating historic sites. All this plus the world-famous Côtes du Rhône vineyards, too!