France is home to many of the world's most famous and revered wine regions, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and the Rhone Valley. It's hard to understate the impact of French winemaking on the rest of the world, given that this is the home of the concept of "terroir" and originator of many modern winemaking techniques producing premium French wine that are now taken for granted.
Key French Wine Regions
France is a large and diverse winemaking country, boasting sunbaked Mediterranean vineyards in the south and cool, rainy sites in the north where it can be hard to even ripen grapes. Champagne in the north is known for its elegant sparkling wines which benefit from this cooler climate, along with Burgundy a bit further south which specialises in graceful reds and whites. Bordeaux over to the west produces muscular reds which can cellar for decades, while the Rhone Valley in the south is known for its opulent and peppery red blends.
French Grape Varieties
Many of the world's most popular grape varieties have French origins, such as the ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot which dominate the Bordeaux region and Pinot Noir which hails from Burgundy, considered to be the best French red wine varietals . The south is better known for its powerful Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre varieties which are frequently blended together. White wine lovers should look out for elegant Chardonnay from Burgundy and Chablis and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux. French wine types pair well with the country's exquisite cuisine and wine is also frequently used in local dishes such as coq au vin and beef bourguignon.
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