Many a food and wine-lover has surely placed France on their list of must-see destinations and for good reason. There are over seven main wine regions in France, each with landscapes more beautiful than the next. With their verdant rolling hills and perfectly placed rows of ancient vines bursting with ripe fruit, its no wonder they produce some of the finest and tastiest wine in the world.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself planning a trip to France – whether you are a devoted wino strictly wanting to visit wine regions or just wandering through the countryside and need a little break from touring and sightseeing, consider adding these four wine regions to your France itinerary and let these vineyards full of wine, fill your glasses.
Technically it may not make the official list as a true wine region, but this historic province located in the north-east of France, best known for the sparkling white wine that bears the same name, garners a spot on our list. The region has been known for producing quality wine since the early Middle Ages, specifically growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Covered in rolling green hills, it’s a charming spot to explore on a warm afternoon and makes a great day trip from Paris.
Claude Moët founded the House of Moët and Chandon back in 1743. Since its humble beginnings, the champagne produced here has become synonymous with grand celebrations of success, achievement and triumph. From restaurant proposals to the Academy Awards, the champagne of Moët and Chandon is the drink of choice for happy occasions.
So if you’re in the area, allow yourself to indulge by taking a guided tour of the vineyards and cellars. Reservations are recommended, can be arranged in over eight languages and only charge a minimal fee that includes a tasting. Located about a hundred miles from the bustle of Paris, it is the perfect escape if you’re looking for a luxe champagne experience.
Pommery Champagne has four separate visiting estates, spread over a variety of sites that offer a great diversity of soils. This gives their wines complex tastes and aromas. The founding estate, Domaine Pommery, was built to showcase both modernity and extravagance – creating a breath-taking image of fine architecture. It fuses art, passion and wonderful taste that are sure to fill your visit with wonderful memories.
The Loire Valley is a well-known wine region, but that isn’t the only reason you won’t ever want to leave. Often called the Garden of France, this area is fully stocked with cultural history and beauty. From the architectural wonders once built for nobility to the valued works from the Renaissance – Loire Valley has the loveliest and most romantic aspects of France rolled into one. So while you aren’t sampling the best of the Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir grapes (which the region is known for) – explore a castle, get lost in art and enjoy the beautiful Loire Valley.
This estate was born out of familial love when Jacqueline and Pierre Manzagol bought and restored the area. The vineyard had been devastated by World War II, yet the two put their heart and souls into its revival. Today, their grandson continues to run the vineyard. About 42 acres of vines surround the estate, trailing off into gentle sloping hills. La Noblaie is picturesque and peaceful, ideal for those who’d appreciate a long stroll through the vines while sipping the delicately crafted wine.
Spread across 96 acres, here you’ll find some of the oldest vines in the Loire Valley. The wine is harvested with great care using a mix of both traditional and modern techniques to create a drink rich in flavor and quality. These Cabernet Franc-based wines can be sampled by visitors after touring the vineyard and the cellars.
Once you’ve finished your wine, you’re in perfect placement for a trip to the gardens of Villandry – widely regarded as the most beautiful and intricately created gardens on Earth. Also in the area is the historic castle where Joan of Arc convinced the King of France to give her an army to defeat the English in the Hundred Years War.
Hailed for its innovative style, the Rhône Valley has long been known as the home to France’s most delicious dishes. And what goes better with a wonderful meal than a light and locally brewed glass of wine? The soil is fed directly by the famous Rhône river, producing a wide variety of wines, including the popular Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Syrah and Viognier are two of the most popular grapes used in the area.
This vineyard is the youngest in our lot – having only opened in 1999. Founder Christophe Pacalet tried his hand at biochemistry and cooking before deciding to devote his time to making wine. His goal is to produce quality French wine without causing harm to the environment. The grapes are still harvested by hand, a classic tradition that most vineyards have not let slip away. This estate gives visitors a priceless glimpse into the beginning states of a vineyard and the opportunity to see how far the group has come. Currently producing five distinct wines, the vineyard hopes to release four more soon.
Languedoc – Roussillon
Located in the South of France, this area places you right near the Mediterranean – giving the wines produced in the region a distinctive taste, very different than those cultivated up north. Currently Languedoc is the largest wine region in the world and produces more than one-third of the grapes used for wine in France.
It’s home to about 16 grape varieties including Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvedre as well as vin de payes, ‘country wine’, which is a step below the AOC classification. For those of us not lucky enough to live in the beautiful region, taking a visit there is cause enough to indulge in a bit of wine, both mountain and coastal views and the wonderful Mediterranean climate.
This vineyard, like many others, originated with family. Jean Benoit Cavalier took over the land (about 50 acres) in 1984 and cultivated it into an impressive 210 acres of vines. The area is surrounded by woodland, creating an environment rich in biodiversity and providing protection for the growing vines. With four reds, two whites, one rosé and more in the process of being produced – the vineyard offers visitors a heavenly selection of their best products as well as a chance to experience some of France’s most beautiful and natural surroundings.
Thirsty yet? Tell us about your favorite French wines or any vineyards you’ve visited.
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