There’s wine-- and then there’s French wine. From the cool, saline-tinged coasts of the Loire, to the sweltering, sun-drenched region of Provence, France’s wine production is one of the most important in the world. The country vinifies between 50 and 60 million hectolitres of wine annually-- which translates to 7-8 billion bottles per year. But here, it’s less about numbers and more about regionality, highlighting the unmatchable terroirs that lay scattered across the country’s nearly 750,000 hectares of vines.
Terroir Reigns King
In France, terroir reigns king. An almost uncountable number of grape varieties call France home, many of which find their birthplace within the country’s distinct growing regions. From Bordeaux based Cabernet Sauvignon, to inky, earth-driven Rhone Syrah, to the incomparable, terroir-reflective variety of Pinot Noir, all of these global varieties find their original roots within France. The country is also home to the Appellation d'Origine Protégée (AOP) system, formerly known as the AOC system, defining and classifying wines based on geographical locations and winemaking practices, all the way down to vineyard specific designations.
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Our Favorite Regions
We believe that the key to great wine is through exceptional terroir. The regions below have been carefully curated just for you, highlighting what we believe to be the best growing sites in the world.
When it comes to terroir reflection and vineyard-specific designations, Burgundy is where it’s at. Home to Grand Crus, 100+ producers, and Pinot Noir/Chardonnay as far as the eye can see, Burgundy is known for its emphasis on microclimates and lieux dits, creating vineyard reflective bottles from a variety of growing conditions. Many of the world’s most sought after bottles come from Burgundy, luring novices, collectors, and everyone in between to the region’s varietal bottlings.
Check out: A Guide to Our Favorite Burgundy Producers
For bubbles, there’s simply nowhere like Champagne. Located 150 kilometers east of Paris, the region’s chalky, Kimmeridgian soils, coupled with acid-preserving cool climates, create ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier destined for sparkling production. Elegant and age-worthy, these incomparable bubbles sit a cut above the rest.
Check out: A Guide to Our Favorite Champagne Producers
In the Beaujolais, energetic, crushable Gamay is the star of the show, producing high-acid, food friendly bottles that are almost too easy to drink. Granitic soils and continental climates, in conjunction with the region’s signature implementation of carbonic maceration, make for fruit-forward, chuggable juice, perfect for year-round consumption.
Check out: A Guide to Our Favorite Beaujolais Producers
For an unmatchable quality to price ratio, there’s nowhere like the Loire. In addition to being a hotbed for the natural wine movement, the region’s 600+ mile-long stretch of vineyards produces consistently drinkable bottles from a slew of indigenous grape varieties, from a smattering of silex, limestone, and tuffeau heavy soils. From flinty Sauvignon Blanc in the east, to peppery Cab Franc and #chenincheninchenin in the center, to crisp, sur lie aged Muscadet in the west, we can’t think of a better destination for affordable bottles that consistently overdeliver.
Check out: A Guide to Our Favorite Loire Producers
Wedged between the larger Languedoc and Provence regions lies France’s Rhone Valley, one of our all-time favorite regions. Split into Northern and Southern valleys, with only a short thirty miles between the two, the Rhone Valley is home to savory Syrah, fruit-forward Grenache, and a handful of white varieties, all heavily influenced by the region’s namesake river, diverse soils, and powerful Mistral winds. Whether you prefer meaty, varietal Syrah, rich, food-friendly whites, or GSM blends are more your jam, the Rhone’s got you covered.
Check out: A Guide to Our Favorite Rhone Producers