France is known for producing quality wine all over the country. Some of the most well-known and coveted wines in the world come from France, so learning about French wines gives you a skill to bring out in important company.
French Wine Regions:
France has seven major regions that produce most of the wine: Languedoc-Roussillon, Bordeaux, Rhône Valley, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Champagne, and Alsace. Each region is known for producing one or several types of wine because the soil in each region is suitable for growing different grapes.
Popular French Wines:
When buying French wine, remember that the region that grows the most grapes (Languedoc-Roussillon) does not produce the best wine. People often point to Bordeaux and Burgundy as the two French wine regions out of which the best wine comes.
Bordeaux isn't a type of wine the way Malbec or Syrah is, but the Bordeaux region of France is so well-known for producing delicious wines, you'll see Bordeaux on a lot of upscale labels for both reds and whites. Though characterizing it in a few words is very difficult, you can expect some of the major flavor profiles in Bordeaux wine are things like black cherry, licorice, spice, smoke and vanilla, though those are just a few of many. These are highly coveted wines that cost hundreds of dollars (or even thousands) a bottle.
You'll find Chardonnay primarily from Burgundy, Champagne, and Languedoc-Roussillon. Burgundy produces delicious oaked Chardonnay, which has a buttery flavor profile, thanks to both oak barrel aging and riper grapes. Unoaked varieties come from Loire or Chambay and have fruity, light flavors. Pair these with your favorite soft French cheeses.
Get your French Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Champagne, and Alsace's growing regions, and France is actually the biggest grower of Pinot Noir grapes in the world. Of the red wines, Pinot Noir is lighter, almost translucent. You'll love this wine for its fruity profile, which often includes notes of raspberry and cranberry. Other flavors include tobacco, vanilla, mushroom, and more. It pairs well with many foods, from Comté cheese to mushroom risotto to spiced duck.
Syrah primarily grows in the Rhône Valley and Languedoc-Roussilon. France grows tons of Syrah grapes, and this wine often carries dark fruit flavors like blackberry and blueberry, along with various herbs, smoke, and even mint. Pair this extremely dark red with barbecue, as long as you use a ton of peppers. South of France spices and soft cheeses also taste delicious with Syrah.