For fans of wine, particularly French wine, there can be no greater holiday than a wine tour through one of the world’s most important wine producing countries. There’s no shortage of companies offering to tour you through France’s wineries, but if your energy levels, or your budget, won’t stretch to a full tour of all of the country’s wine regions you will need to be more discerning about which regions you visit. This guide will help you pare down which to hit and which to miss.
Found on the Rhine River, Alsace is famed for six appellations, including Crémant d’Alsace, Pinot Blanc, and Gewurztraminer, all of which are white wines. The wines in this region are flavoured with a Germanic influence from across the river and in majority are dry.
Famous for its full-bodied red wines, Bordeaux is home to just under 7,000 wine producing chateaux and around 21 appellations. Bordeaux is a must for those who like their wines to fight back a bit and is one of the only regions where pre-booking your tour of the winery is not always essential.
Known to most as Burgundy, Bourgogne is also home to 21 appellations and two of France’s most popular wines and home and abroad: Beaujolais and Chablis. The wines of Bourgogne have a sophisticated flavour – reds are subtle in tone, while whites are less sharp.
What has to be said about this region beyond its name? Famous for its ubiquitous sparkling wine, Champagne makes champagne and almost nothing else. If you’re feeling in a celebratory mood, dip into the Moet et Chandon, Perrier-Jouet or Taittinger chateaux for a festive flavour.
Côtes du Rhône
Rhône is a region of contrasts: while its northern wineries are famed for their rich reds, the south is a place where quantity far outweighs quality. If you want to enjoy France’s flavours on a budget, Rhône should be on your list, along with…
Languedoc is another place where the notes of the wine take a back seat to the notes in your pocket. Almost half of all of France’s budget red wines come from Languedoc, so be prepared to empty your wallet.
For fans of a stiff white, Loire Valley is the place to be. Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon grapes are the chief ingredient and the region is known for its delicate, fruity wines.