French heritage and wine go hand in hand. Without one, you simply can’t have the other, and with little effort, the country conjures images of rolling vineyards, chateaux and sun-kissed slopes.
Each year, France takes on Italy to compete for the title of the world’s leading wine producer, and we’ve got to admit, France certainly has the edge (or so we like to think). Here’s why. France’s diverse climate and variety of terroirs are ideal for harvesting grapes. Plus, out of the country’s twenty-two regions, seventeen produce more than 3,000 wines. So if you’re looking to uncork a good bottle (or two) of French wine while on holiday, these are the best wine regions of France.
With more than 8,500 wine producers, it’s hardly surprising that Bordeaux is considered the world’s wine capital, and it’s the largest wine-growing region in France. If you enjoy full-bodied reds, you’ll strike gold with the region’s famed Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. While the Bordeaux’s vineyards occupy more than 120,000 hectares, the best are found in Médoc and Saint Emilion. In fact, the vineyards of Saint Emilion were the first to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a rewarding landscape to see, and even more so if you’re exploring the region by car.
The Bordeaux Wine Festival takes place in the region every two years – the next one will be happening in June 2020. This four-day festival features 80 appellations from the city and Aquitaine for your tasting pleasure. But don’t worry if you can’t attend, there’s no shortage of wine-related tours and events to enjoy here at any time of year.
Related reads: Vineyards For Your Bordeaux Wine Tasting Trip
Champagne is the most celebrated wine region in northern France. Depending on which time of year you visit, you can either see the harvest, or the champagne being blended – regardless, it tastes just as good all year around. Dom Pérignon is probably the best-known house as its namesake invented champagne, so entice the wine buff within and visit his tomb when you’re in the region, before toasting his legacy with a bottle. That said, Champagne is more than just fizz; it’s about pairing the wine experience with beautiful scenery and fine cuisine.
Save yourself the cost of air travel, and opt for a car journey. Champagne is just a two-and-a-half hour drive from Calais, which is a small price to pay if it means being able to fill the trunk with bottles of bubbly for you and yours.
Related reads: Best Group Activities in Champagne
The sun-drenched vineyards of Provence are as pretty as a postcard. But behind the aesthetics, the region has been producing wine for more than 2,000 years and is best known for its light rosés. A Provencal summers day isn’t quite complete without a glass of Cote de Provence or Coteaux d’Aix. Granted, there’s nothing worse than drawing the short straw of designated driver, but don’t miss the celebrated wine route from Toulon to the Massif des Maures. It ticks off all the right boxes for wine buffs and fashionistas alike.
We love a good tipple as much as the next, but if wine isn’t your thing, Procenve will reward you with much more than wine. Its picturesque scenery includes olive groves, sunflowers, sandy coves and dreamlike lavender fields.
Related reads: The best foodie experiences in Provence
When it comes to volume, Languedoc is the largest wine-producing region in the world. Producing three times the output of Bordeaux, the region is quickly becoming a notable destination for wine tours. Though we should say, the reds are fairly average and many of the other wines are the regulated Vins de Pays. Languedoc’s most famous wines include the white Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, and the red Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Genache Noir. A pretty spiffy spectrum to cover all palettes.
What gives the region a certain ‘something-something’ is that the wines are very competitively priced, so it’s a no brainer for wine buffs who want to be in their glory.
Related reads: Family Activities in Languedoc
5. Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is perhaps most famous for its majestic chateaux. However, it also boasts some of the most picturesque vineyards in France. The regions famed wines include Saumur, Sauvignon, Chinon and Muscadet. Like most of the other regions in this list, it’s best enjoyed with a car, especially where vinyards are involved. During the summer, there are countless wine festivals to relish, so why not have a glass under the stars at the Chateau de Chenonceau.
On the off-chance that you get tired of sampling home-grown wine, make the most of the Loire’s verdant scenery and grand chateaux.
Related reads: 500th Anniversary of the Reniassance in the Loire Valley
No matter when you’re reading this, you’re most probably daydreaming about wine, wine wine. ‘Wine not’ get a head start on your French villa holiday and get in touch with our concierge team. They’ll find you the perfect base in the best wine regions of France. Cheers!