Understanding French Wine Regions

French wine is known for being among the crème de la crème of the wine industry. In other words, French wine has left a strong impression on the world, and the region is known for producing some of the best tasting wines available. In fact more than 5 billion bottles of wine are produced in France each year, ranking the country as one of the largest wine producers worldwide. Across France there are seven distinct regions where the best French wines reside, they include: Languedoc-Roussillon, Rhône Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Champagne, and Alsace.

The Differences: Based on Region

Each wine region in France is known for producing their own unique blends. From the grapes used, to the flavor of the final product, each region has something special to offer. It is these differences that make French wine so world renowned in the sense that there will always be so much variety to choose from when selecting a bottle.

Languedoc-Roussillon: Known for producing some of the finest red and white wines while still maintaining an affordable price. This region has grown very popular over the last couple of decades as winemakers have stepped up their quality.

  • Popular Red Wines: Carignane and Cinsaut
  • Popular White Wines: Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Roussanne

The Rhône Valley: The Rhône Valley is broken up into two parts. The northern Rhône is known to produce high quality wines made from Syrah grapes. These grapes are known for the dark red coloring that they give wine. On the other hand, the southern Rhône typically produces its wine using Grenache grapes that create a vibrant red color.

  • Popular Red Wines: Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre
  • Popular White Wines: Marsanne, Rousanne, and Viognier

Burgundy: Home to the original Chardonnay, Burgundy is known for some of the best white wines. Burgundy is also known for producing some of the greatest Pinot Noirs. However, due to rapidly changing weather conditions, the cultivation process in the Burgundy region can take longer than other locations worldwide.

  • Popular Red Wines: Pinot Noir
  • White Wines: Chardonnay

Bordeaux: Located on the west coast of France, Bordeaux is known for creating some of the best Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots. Top shelf bottles can often run fairly expensive, but the quality more than makes up for the price tag.

  • Popular Red Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot
  • Popular White Wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillion, and Muscadelle

The Loire Valley: The cool coastal climate of the Loire Valley is the perfect atmosphere for Muscadet grapes to grow. Some of the best tasting white wines worldwide come from this region. While white wine is the main focus of the region, the area still creates great tasting red wine made from Cabernet Franc grapes.

  • Popular Red Wines: Cabernet Franc
  • Popular White Wines: Sauvignon Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne

Champagne: Champagne is known worldwide for producing sparkling white wine. In fact, the term Champagne is exclusive to bottles that only come from this region. Winemakers here usually use a blend of grapes when creating their wine and Champagne bottles have been known to be costly however, there are less expensive alternatives that still offer great taste.

  • Popular Red Wines: Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier
  • Popular White Wines: Veuve Clicquot Brut, Perrier-Jouët, and Chardonnay

Alsace: Unlike most of the other regions, Alsace relies heavily on the production of white wine. Almost all of its exports consist of white wine, and the grapes of choice are Gewürztraminer and Riesling. These grapes are not native to France, rather to Germany.

  • Red Wines: Pinot Noir
  • White Wines: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc

These seven wine regions are responsible for bringing some of the greatest wines to the world. Each region has its own specialties, and if you wish to try some outstanding French wine you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment. Finding the wine of your choice can be fun and exciting especially when there are so many options to choose from. If you wish to get your hands on a bottle without having to fly overseas, Julio’s Liquors offers a vast selection to choose from, and even offers several wine tastings a month!

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