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Wine and food are one of the best ways to explore France. Not only are the wine regions in France producing some of the world’s best wine, but they are also home to delicious classic and modern French food.
Yet not all wine regions in Europe are the same, in fact each has their own traditional wine and distinct personality. Here are 5 wine regions you should consider on your next holiday in France.
Perhaps the most famous wine region in France, and all the world. And while sparkling wine can be found all over the world, only wine from this region carries the prestigious name of champagne.
Only an hour and a half from Paris, Reims and Epernay are the center of this region located in northern France. The taste of champagne comes from its chalky soil, that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
Veuve Cliquot, Moet & Chandon, Bollinger; it’s possible to visit all of these producers. If you’re a fan of the first champagne – Dom Perignon you can visit the tomb of the Benedictine monk who first created it.
But there are also plenty of great vineyards and wineries to wander the region dotted with medieval buildings and world heritage sites. While it’s not the most inexpensive region to sample wine, you can try excellent champagne for a reasonable price.
Running south east from Paris on the way to Lyon is the wine region that makes some of the most expensive wine in France, with enthusiasts having the patience to store bottles for up to 30 years.
While burgundy is known for its pinot noir, the region also produces some lesser known chardonnay. There’s a small town feel in Burgundy, especially in the quaint town of Beaune. The region is famous for its tradition of monks producing wine on small parcels of land for vineyards.
Anchored by the city of Bordeaux in south west France, it’s tempting to never leave the city’s limits of this world heritage site to marvel in its classical architecture while drinking merlot and cabernet at the local wine bars and sampling local foie gras at the restaurants.
But day trips are a must as Bordeaux is perhaps one of the most romantic regions along the Atlantic Coast with stretches of medieval castles and vineyards as the backdrop.
Cotes du Rhone
One of the most underrated wine regions in France, making it one of the least expensive wine regions. Running from South of Lyon into northern Provence along the Rhone river. Most of the wine comes from the southern region of the Rhone Valley which grows Mediterranean grapes Syrah and Grenache.
While the region isn’t known to have the best wine throughout, there is one must visit area, to drink Chateauneuf du Pape, which Napoleon reportedly loved.
This young wine once had a bad reputation as poor quality Beaujolais flooded North America. However, it is now making a comeback with producers creating great quality wine with the Gamay grape.
Just south of Burgundy next to the Rhone Valley, the best time to visit this wine region is when the annual vin nouveau or new wine is produced. The third Thursday of November each year the Beaujolais Nouveau is released after just a few weeks after bottling.
As it is a light red wine that is not aged, the best opportunity to drink a stellar Beaujolais is in France as it likely won’t make it for export. Even if you’re not a huge Beaujolais fan, the experience of being in the region during Beaujolais Nouveau Day is worth the visit.
Cover photo credit: Lexe-I