You don’t need to be a wine enthusiast to appreciate a good bottle of red or white. You might have perused the French wine selection at your local wine shop and read about different vineyards on the bottle labels. So why not plan your next vacation around visiting these vineyards?
France is famous for its wine production, and you don't have to look very far to find gorgeous vineyards that produce excellent wine in each corner of the country. However, planning an entire trip around these vineyards can sound intimidating. But don't worry!
In this guide we will demystify France’s wine country and go over the essential spots you need to visit on your trip. So get your luggage tag and prepare for a trip of a lifetime!
Bordeaux is located in southwest France and has around sixty growing appellations. This region produces primarily red wines made from Merlot, Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec grapes.
This region is divided into two distinct sections by the Gironde Estuary. These are the “left bank” and the “right bank” depending on where they fall relative to the Estuary. The left bank is known for producing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes due to its soil’s high gravel content. The right bank has a more clay-rich soil which is better suited for growing Merlot grapes.
Despite this distinction, most Bordeaux wines consist of a blend of different varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec. Some essential left bank wines to try include:
- Lafite Rothschild
- Mouton Rothschild
- Haut Brion
Some excellent right bank wines to try include:
- Château Petrus
- Château Le Pin
- Château Lafleur Pomerol
You’ll definitely want to share these exquisite wines with your family and friends, so be sure to leave some space in your 30 inch luggage piece for a few bottles.
Burgundy is another essential wine region you will want to visit on your trip. This Eastern French region consists of a hundred-mile strip known for producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Beaujolais. Its limestone soils and moderate climate make it ideal for producing Pinot Noir grapes. Some essential wines from this area include:
- Domaine Henri Delagrange Les Bertins Premier Cru
- Châteaux des Quarts
- DRC Richebourg Vosne-Romanée
The south region is known for producing white wines such as Chablis, which is a light-bodied Chardonnay aged in stainless steels casks. The region’s “golden slopes” known as Cote d’ Or produce excellent white wines. Some of the best ones include:
- Chateau de Fuissé Les Brules
- Albert Bichot Domaine du Pavillon
- Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet
- Jean-Marc Brocard Butteaux Premier Cru
You won’t want to miss these tantalizing wines. So mark Burgundy on your luggage tag and take some bottles home in your trunk luggage piece
France’s Alsace region has many Grand Cru vineyards that stand out for their microclimates. The vineyards in this region are spread across three appalachians: Alsace Grand Cru, Alsace, and Crémant d Alsace.
The region’s Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling in particular stand out for their affordable prices. The Riesling region is known for its dry white wines that contain hints of mineral notes. Some of the most popular wines from this area include:
- Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg
- Schoenheitz Riesling Alsace Herrenreben Vendanges Tardives
- Domaines Schlumberger Kessler Grand Cru
- Domain Valentin Zusslin Riesling Alsace Grand Cru Pfingstberg
- Trimbach Riesling Clos St Hune
The region’s limestone and volcanic soils offer ideal conditions for growing Pinot Gris grapes. Some of the full-bodied wines to check out from this region include:
- Emile Beyer Tradition
- Marc Kreydenweiss Moenchberg
- Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl
- Wolfberger Alsace Vieilles Vignes
- Josmeyer Fromenteau
You don’t want to miss these wines, so mark Alsace on your luggage tag and head on down to the region with your trusty trunk luggage piece.
You’ve probably heard a few people state “It’s not Champagne if it’s not from France’s Champagne region” at some point in your life. Well, you can finally rub it in their faces by visiting the Champagne region and trying the wines there first hand.
The Champagne region falls east of Paris and is considered France’s Northernmost wine region. This region is divided into three distinct areas: Côte des Blancs, Montagne de Reims, and Vallée de la Marne. The wines here are produced using a twice-fermented method that helps create exquisite sparkling wines. This includes Sparkling Blanc de Blancs such as:
- Champagne Serge Gallois Blanc de Blancs
- Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blancs NV
- Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV
- Delamotte NV Blanc de Blancs
- Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV
Some of the region’s signature Pinot Noir wines include:
- Ulysse Collin Les Maillons Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut
- Krug Clos d'Ambonnay Blanc de Noirs Brut
- Maison Mumm RSRV Blanc de Noirs Brut Grand Cru
- Charles Collin Blanc de Noirs Brut
- Champagne De Venoge Princes Blanc de Noirs
If you ever want to take some authentic Champagnes back for your friends, be sure to visit the Champagne region and make some room for a few bottles in your 30 inch luggage piece. This is a flex you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
5. Languedoc and Roussillon
The Languedoc and Roussillon regions are two distinct wine making areas on the Mediterranean coast known for producing both Rosé and red wines. They consist of a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, and Mourvèdre grapes, which makes them truly unique.
This region’s excellent Sparking Limoux wines include:
- Crémant de Limoux
- Blanquette de Limoux
- Domaine de Baron'Arques Limoux
- Sieur d'Arques Limoux Toques et Clochers Malras
- Domaine de Baron'Arques Limoux Blanc
Some of their Grenache blends include:
- Château Des Jaume Cru Maury Sec
- Domaine De La Pertuisane Le Nain Violet Grenache
- Domaine Lafage Nicolas Grenache Noir
- Collioure Coume del Mas Schistes - Collioure
- Domaine Des Prés-Lasses Le Castel Viel Faugères
These regions are not to be missed on your wine-tour, so be sure to get a few extra bottles and back them in your trunk luggage piece.
Exploring France’s Wine Regions in Style
As you can see, France’s wine regions can be quite complex. However, the above guide should help demystify many of its most-interesting regions. The country produces many iconic red and white wines, and you will get a chance to experience both by following the above guide.
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