The French Vineyards

September 19, 2014


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Wine culture in France is almost seen as a way of life, it has traditionally been seen as an art form the French take great pride in. The majority of French regions/departments cultivate their own wine. Each wine-making region has its own distinctive/unique characteristics which determine whether the wine will be subtle, fruity and/or aromatic. The distinct flavours can be attributed to the soil, climate and grape type. Why not take a tour of some of the greatest vineyards France has to offer and discover the delightful and fragrant flavours of France.

The Bordeaux region in particular has become the flagship of French wines and never fails to impress. Home to Chateau Margaux, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Petrus and Yguem to name but a few of their established wines, there is something for everyone. Spread over 5 regions – the Médoc, the Graves, the Entre-deux-Mers, the Rive Droite and the Sauternais – 119,000 hectares (294,000 acres) and 60 appellations, the Bordeaux region is host to the largest vineyard France has to offer.

This particular region has been recognised as the main viticultual region in France and is renowned for its production/quality of vintage wines. Multiple Tourist Offices within the region organise tours/excursions and stays during which you can embark upon your own wine journey. From the wine making process to the tasting stages, the charming countryside and magnificent landscapes will leave you wanting more.

On the other hand if you wish to discover an area a little less known, but still worth the journey why not visit the vineyards of Burgundy. Unlike Bordeaux, Burgundy is composed of thousands of small-scale vineyards owned by multiple wine growers who concoct numerous different wines- including both red and white wines.

Whilst large estates which predominantly produce red wines are situated in the Bordeaux region, smaller estates which use a mixture of grape types can be found in Burgundy. As a result of this, Burgundy is divided into a legion of different appellations. Often these are small, occasionally accounting for a sole vineyard. This can sometimes make it hard for beginners to understand the concept of the region.

However in saying that, Burgundy is home to the Grand Crus Route also known as Burgundy’s Elysium Fields which marks out an 80km trail linking Dijon and Santenay which leads you off the beaten track and enables you to really get lost in your adventure. The route moves along the Cotes de Nuits and the Beaune area which is known for its beauty. This particular route takes you through the heart of Dijon, the city of Burgundy, Dukes and Beaune – known as the wine capital and home to some well-known wine-making villages.

Speaking of well-known wine producing regions in France, one must not forget the Champagne region which is famous for its bubbly wines. All sparkling wine starts life as a still wine which is carbonated later. One of the most crucial yet intriguing elements in the quality of a sparkling wine is how it is created. Don Pierre Perignon was the first to discover the secret of Champagne production in the early 17th century. Why not learn more about the process and take a tour of the Champagne Region. There are many Cave and Champagne tours available to explore the vineyards, learn about the appellation system and of course tantalize your taste buds with some exceptional Champagnes whilst visiting some amazing underground caves.

If none of the above tickles your fancy, why not look into the Loire Region/ the Rhone Valley, Corsica or Alsace all of which await your arrival. Each of the above regions boosts their own creativity and has their own methods of production.
Regardless of which region you choose you will enjoy the beautiful landscapes, experience the hospitality of each wine grower and discover the secrets of wine making. One could say all the regions offer something for all lovers of wine.


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