Wine Regions of France

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France Bourgogne Cotes des Nuits Vineyards

Wine producing areas in France are regulated by the Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité or INAO. Every appellation (geographical location) in France is defined by the INAO in regards to each region's particular wine character. If a wine fails to meet the INAO's strict criteria, it is reclassified into a lower appellation, a Vin de Pays, or a Vin de Table.   INAO website

Alsace

Alsace wine map
Alsace is primarily a white wine region, but there are also red, rosé, sparkling, and sweet wines produced here. It is situated in eastern France along the Vosges mountains on the Rhine river bordering Germany, a country with which it shares many grape varieties as well as a long tradition of varietal labelling. Similar to Austria and Germany, Alsace produces some of the most noted dry Rieslings in the world, but is better known for its exportation of the highly-aromatic Gewürztraminer wines. Because of the Germanic influence, it is the only region in France to produce mostly varietal wines and sells them by those names. Alsatian wines are produced under three different Appellation d'Origine Contrôlées (AOC) :
* Alsace for white, rosé and red wines
* Alsace Grand Cru for white wines from certain classified vineyards
* Crémant d'Alsace for sparkling wines.
View Appellations
* Riesling
* Pinot blanc and Auxerrois blanc
* Gewürztraminer
* Pinot gris (formerly Tokay)
* Sylvaner
* Pinot noir
* Muscat
* Chasselas
* Crémant d'Alsace (sparkling)
* Edelzwicker (blended from several varieties)

Bordeaux

Bordeaux wine map left bank
Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. This region lies in the area around the city of Bordeaux within the Gironde department in the Aquitaine region. Over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine are produced every year, ranging from large quantities of ordinary table wine to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world. Most Bordeaux wine is red, but the region also produces sweet white wines, dry white, Rosé, and sparkling wines such as Crémant de Bordeaux.

The region is naturally divided by the Garonne and Dordogne rivers into a left bank area (city of Bordeaux) and a right bank area (city of Libourne). The left bank of the Garonne river is subdivided into the Médoc area downstream and the Graves area upstream of the city of Bordeaux and the five First Growths are situated here.
Bordeaux wine map left bank
Bordeaux wine map right bank
The right bank of the Garonne river is subdivided into the Saint-Emilion and Pomerol areas. The 57 Bordeaux appellations and the wine-styles they represent are usually categorized into six main families, four red and two white, based on the subregions. The vast majority of Bordeaux wine is red, with red wine production out numbering white wine production six to one.

Médoc

Médoc
Haut Médoc
Margaux
Saint Estèphe
Pauillac
Saint Julien
Listrac
Moulis

Graves

Graves
Pessac Léognan
Sauternes
Barsac
Premières Côtes de Bordeaux

Entre deux mers

Bordeaux aoc/Bordeaux supérieur

Côtes

Saint Emilion
Côtes de Castillon
Côtes de Francs
Pomerol
Fronsac
Côtes de Bourg
View Appellations
  • Barsac
  • Bordeaux wine
  • Entre-deux-Mers
  • Graves
  • Fronsac
  • Haut-Médoc
  • Médoc
  • Pauillac
  • Pessac-Léognan
  • Pomerol
  • Saint-émilion
  • Saint-Estèphe
  • Saint-Julien
  • Margaux
  • Sauternes
  • Côtes de Bourg
  • Côtes de Castillon
  • Côtes de Francs
  • Listrac
  • Moulis
  • Premieres Côtes de Bordeaux

Bourgogne

Bourgogne wine map
Bourgogne, in eastern France, is a region where red and white wines are equally important. The historic city of Beaune is the center of the wine growing region and every November, the Trois Glorieuses wine auction in the Hôtel-Dieu (Hospices) sells wines to raise money for charity which accordingly sets prices for the year's vintage. Bourgogne is more terroir-oreinted than any other region and is divided into the largest number of appellations of any French region. The top wines from Bourgogne's heartland in Côte d'Or command high prices.

Bourgogne wines may be categorized in three ways:
* La cote de Nuits (Marsannay-La-Cote to Nuits-Saint-Georges)
* La cote de Beaune (Beaune To Santenay)
* La cote Chalonnaise (Givry, Rully and le Maconnais)

Other areas of Bourgogne that are sometimes considered as separate wine regions are:
Beaujolais wine map
* Beaujolais in the south and close to the Rhône Valley area where mostly red wines are made and have a fruity style and are usually consumed young. The Beaujolais Nouveau, which is made from Gamay grapes, is the only wine that can be legally consumed in the year of its production (3rd week end of November).

* Chablis, halfway between Côte d'Or and Paris, where white wines are produced on chalky soil giving a more crisp and steely style than the rest of Bourgogne.

There are three main varietals of wines used in Bourgogne:
* Chardonnay to produce white wines
* Pinot Noir to produce red wines
* Aligoté as a component of Kir
View Appellations
  • Bourgogne wine
  • Beaujolais
  • Bugey
  • Chablis
  • Côte Chalonnaise
    • Givry
    • Mercurey
    • Rully
  • Côte d'Or
    • Côte de Nuits
      • Côte de Nuits wine
      • Chambolle-Musigny
      • Clos Vougeot
      • Gevrey-Chambertin
      • Nuits-Saint-Georges
      • Vosne-Romanée
    • Côte de Beaune
      • Aloxe-Corton
      • Auxey-Duresses
      • Beaune
      • Corton
      • Côte de Beaune
      • Chassagne-Montrachet
      • Meursault
      • Pommard
      • Santenay
      • Volnay
  • Mâcon
    • Mâcon
    • Mâcon-Villages
    • Mâcon-Prissé
    • Pouilly Fuissé

Champagne

Champagne wine map


Champagne, situated in eastern France and close to Belgium and Luxembourg, is the coldest of France's major wine regions and home its major sparkling wine. Champagne wines can be both white and rosé. A small amount of still wine is produced in Champagne (as AOC Coteaux Champenois) of which some can be red wine. Wines from this region were known before medieval times. The churches owned the vineyards and monks produced wine for use in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Later, when French kings were traditionally crowned in Reims, champagne was served as part of the coronation festivities.

Champagne is a single Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée and usually, the grapes used must be white Chardonnay, black Pinot Noir, or Pinot Meunier. All of the more than 15,000 growers, cooperatives, and over 300 châteaux that produce Champagne are members of the Comite Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) which was established in 1941 under the auspices of the French government and is currently represented by the Ministry of Agriculture.

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  • Aube
  • Côte des Blancs
  • Côte de Sézanne
  • Montagne de Reims
  • Vallée de la Marne

Corse

Corse wine map
Corse (Corsica) is an island in the Mediterranean its wines are primarily consumed on the island itself. Corsica has nine AOC regions and an island-wide vin de pays designation Vin de Pays de l'Ile de Beauté that accounts for two thirds of the island's entire wine production.

The main wines here are:
* Patrimonio- Nieluccio is the main grape used in the red and rosé wines accounting for 95% of production and grown locally. Vermentino is the exclusive grape for the white wines
* Ajaccio is one of the highest wine regions in France. The main grape is Sciacarello, also a local variety that benefits from the extremely warm weather.
View Appellations
  • Ajaccio
  • Corsica
  • Patrimonio

Côtes du Rhône

Côtes du Rhône north wine map
Côtes du Rhône south wine map
The Rhône Valley is primarily a red-wine region in southeastern France lying along the Rhône River. The styles and varietal composition of northern and southern Rhône differ, but both compete with Bordeaux as traditional producers of fine red wines. The northern sub-region produces red wines from the Syrah grape and are sometimes blended with white wines from Viognier grapes. The southern sub-region produces several red, white and rosé wines often blending several grapes such as in the well-known Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Syrah is the only red grape variety permitted in red AOC wines from this sub-region which has a more Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers.

The differing terroirs, together with the rugged landscape which help protect the valleys from the Mistral, produce microclimates which give rise to a wide diversity of wines. The most famous red wine here is Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a blend containing up to 13 varieties of wine grapes, both red and white, as permitted by the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC rules. Other AOC regions include Coteaux du Tricastin, Côtes du Ventoux, Côtes du Vivarais, Lirac, Tavel, and Vacqueyras, and all may contain even more varieties in their blends. Côtes du Rhône AOC covers both the northern and southern sub-regions of the Rhône region.

View Appellations
  • Beaumes-de-Venise
  • Châteauneuf du Pape
  • Château Grillet
  • Condrieu
  • Cornas
  • Côtes du Rhône AOC
  • Côtes du Rhône Villages
  • Côtes du Ventoux
  • Côte Rôtie
  • Crozes Hermitage
  • Gigondas
  • Hermitage
  • St. Joseph
  • Saint-Péray
  • Vacqueyras

Jura

Jura wine map
Jura, a small region in the mountains close to Switzerland where some unique wine styles are produced, notably Vin Jeaune and Vin de Paille. The region covers six appellations and is related to Burgundy through its extensive use of the grapes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, though other varieties may be used. It also shares a cool climate with Bourgogne. Five grape varieties are used today: for whites, Chardonnay and Savagnin (Naturé), Poulsard (Ploussard), Trousseau, and Pinot Noir for the reds.
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  • Arbois
  • Côtes du Jura
  • L'Etoile
  • Château-Chalon

Languedoc-Roussillon

Languedoc-Roussillon wine map
Languedoc-Roussillon has around 700,000 acres (2,800 km²) under vines and is the single largest wine-producing region in the world, being responsible for more than one-third of France's total wine production. The region is home to many grape varieties including international ones like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. The traditional Rhône grapes of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, and Viognier are also prominent here. Languedoc wine history can be traced to the first vineyards planted along the coast near Narbonne by the early Greeks in the 5th-century B.C. and along with areas of Provence, these are the oldest planted vineyards in France. The phylloxera epidemic in the 19th-century severely affected the Languedoc wine industry, killing off many of the higher quality vines that were vulnerable to the aphids. American rootstock that was imported and naturally resistant to phylloxera did not adapt well to the limestone soil and as a substitute, the lower quality Aramon, Alicante Bouschet, and Carignan were planted. While still the source of much of France's and Europe's overproduction, the region is also the home of some of France's most innovative producers. Many Languedoc-Roussillon wines are sold as Vin de Pays d'Oc.
View Appellations
  • Banyuls and Collioure
  • Blanquette de Limoux
  • Cabardès
  • Clairette du Languedoc
  • Collioure
  • Corbières
  • Costières de Nimes
  • Coteaux du Languedoc
  • Côtes de Roussillons
  • Côtes du Roussillon Villages
  • Faugères
  • Fitou
  • La Clape
  • Limoux
  • Malepère
  • Maury
  • Minervois
  • Picpoul de Pinet
  • Rivesaltes
  • Saint Chinian

Loire

Loire wine map
The Loire valley is primarily a white-wine region that stretches over a long distance along the Loire River in central and western France where grape varieties and wine styles vary along the river. The area extends from the Muscadet region near the city of Nantes on the Atlantic coast to the region of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé just southeast of Orléans. Loire Valley wines tend to exhibit a characteristic fruitiness with fresh, crisp flavors especially when consumed young. The region has a long history of winemaking dating back to the 1st-century and in the Middle Ages, wines of the Loire were the most respected in England and France.

Four subregions are situated along the Loire river:
* Upper Loire (east)is known for the Sauvignon Blanc grape, producing wines such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fum&eaucte;, but also consisting of several VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Superieure) areas
* Touraine (center Loire Valley) produces cold climate style white wines that are dry, sweet or sparkling from Chenin Blanc in Vouvray and red wines from Cabernet Franc in Bourgueil and Chinon.
* Anjou-Saumur is similar to the Touraine wines with the varieties, but the dry Savennières and sweet Coteaux du Layon are often more powerful than their upstream neighbours. Saumur and Saumur-Champigny provide reds
* Pays Nantais is west and situated closest to the Atlantic (Nantes) and Muscadet produces white wines from the Melon de Bourgogne grape.
View Appellations
  • Anjou-Saumur
    • Anjou
    • Coteaux du Layon
    • Saumur
  • Cognac
  • Muscadet
  • Sancerre
  • Pouilly Fumé
  • Touraine
    • Bourgueil
    • Chinon
    • Touraine wine
    • Vouvray

Provence

Languedoc-Roussillon wine map
Wine has been made in this region for at least 2600 years since the ancient Greeks founded the city of Marseille in 600 BC. Provence is in the southeast of France and close to the Mediterranean sea making it perhaps the warmest wine region in all of France. Mild winters are usually followed by very warm summers with modest rainfall and sunshine is abundant. Grapevines here receive more than 3000 hours which is nearly double the amount needed to completely ripen grapes.

The region produces mainly rosé wines which account for about half of the production and the red wines account for about one-third. It covers eight major appellations led by the Provence flagship, Bandol. Some Provence wine can be compared with the Southern Rhône wines as they share both grapes and, to some degree, style and climate. Provence also has a classification of its most prestigious estates, much like Bordeaux.

Savoie

Jura wine map
Savoie (Savoy) is primarily a white-wine region in the Alps close to Switzerland between lakes and mountains. The Savoie vineyards hang from the alpine slopes and cling to the hillsides in small groups enhancing their special growth and include Fréterive in the South, Evian in the North, and crossing through Apremont and Jongieux.

White grape varieties here include Chignin Bergeron, Chignin, Roussette de Savoie Monterminod, Altesse, Pinot Gris, and Mondeuse. Red grape varieties include Mondeuse, Mondeuse d'Arbin, and Pinot noir. There are no fewer than 17 "Vin de Savoie" villages, the most well-known being Apremont, Chignin, Chautagne and Arbin. Most Savoie wines should be enjoyed young, particularly the white wines from Jacquère grapes which produce light wines that have a flowery bouquet. Much richer and more structured are the varietal wines from Roussette that attain their balance after two or three years of aging.

SouthWest France

Southwest wine map
Southwest France or Sud-Ouest is a somewhat heterogeneous collection of wine areas inland and south of Bordeaux. Some areas produce primarily red wines in a style reminiscent of red Bordeaux, while other produce dry or sweet white wines. The areas closest to Bordeaux to the north produce wines in a similar style to those of Bordeaux and are largely from the same grape varieties.

The brandy-producing region of Armagnac is situated within Gascony and some of its grapes are used to make Vin de Pays under the designation Vin de Pays de Côtes de Gascogne or mixed with Armagnac to produce the mistelle, vin de liqueur or fortified sweet wine, Floc de Gascogne.

The primary areas include:
* Bergerac and other areas of upstream Dordogne
* Areas of the upper Garonne river including Cahors
* Areas in Gascony, home to the production of Armagnac, Madiran, Côtes de Gascogne, Côtes de Saint-Mont, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, and Tursan
* Béarn, such as Jurançon
* Basque Country areas, such as Irouléguy.
View Appellations
  • Bergerac
  • Buzet
  • Cahors
  • Gaillac
  • Jurançon
  • Madiran
  • Monbazillac
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