Wine production has a long history in France. For thousands of years, wineries of all shapes and sizes have established a tradition of producing some of the world’s best wine. To date France produces more wine than any other country on earth. Beautiful chateaus and vineyards pepper the countryside, and many are available for public tours. There is nothing quite like experiencing a French winery on a crisp fall day. While I can’t get nearly as in depth as I would like to, here is a quick overview of the main wine producing areas of France.
French Wine and Cheese: Must-Visit Destinations
The Alsace Region mainly produces white wine, and borders Germany. It has changed hands between the two countries numerous times, and the German influence is clearly seen when touring the region.
Bordeaux, located on the Atlantic coast exports and produces mostly red wines that bear the same name as the region. There are over 9,000 chateaus producing wine annually, and the area is filled with beautiful architecture.
In Burgundy, red and white wines are equally produced. Beaujolais, in the south produces mostly reds while Chablis in the north grows mainly white. Burgundy produces some of the world’s most expensive wine, due to the rarity of certain grapes.
Champagne is the coldest region located about 100 miles east of Paris. The in order for sparkling wine to bear its name, it must come from this region. There are other wines produced in this region, but Champagne remains the most popular export.
Jura, located close to Switzerland is famous for dark red wines. This region attracts many visitors each year due to its location in the Alps.
Languedoc-Roussillon, produces more wine than any other region, and is known for selling in bulk. It is said that the grapes that grow in this area have been around longer than the existence of humans!
The Loire Valley is a primarily white-wine region and produces a lot of Savigon Blanc. Many of the chateaus here are giant castles, built hundreds of years ago, by owners who felt the need to protect their wine stashes with fortresses.
Provence, in southeast France rests on the Mediterranean produces reds and whites, however is known for its famous rose wine.
The Rhone Valley is primarily a red wine region. Syrah, or Shiraz comes from this region is very popular. This region has over 6,000 registered wine growing properties.
The South West Region produces white and reds alike, and rests on over 40,000 acres of vineyards!
As you can see despite its size, France offers more than most can handle in a single vacation when it comes to touring the chateaus. When on tours, you will want to stop by the nearest farm, to grab one of the local cheeses. As you know, cheese and wine go hand in hand. French cheese is known as being some of the finest in the world, and the cheese of each region usually compliments the wine being produced there.
Beaufort is named after a small town in the French Alps. This cheese commonly comes in large wheels, and goes great with some smoked salmon and a nice glass of Chablis.
Brie de Meaux is one of the best cheeses in the world, and is extremely smooth. It matches perfectly with a glass Champagne.
Made famous by an approval from Napoleon, Camembert is matured to the core, and has a delicate salty taste. Enjoy with a baguette and a glass of Red Bordeaux.
The Munster in France is not what we are used to in the US. Alsace Munster has a strong and powerful smell, and goes great with potatoes Pinot Noir. Munster can also be enjoyed with beer.
Pont l’Eveque is a very rich, soft cheese. It has a decadent creamy, full-bodied flavor, and is best enjoyed at room temperature with a glass of Pinot Noir.
Reblochon has a softer texture than Brie, with a nutty after taste. Melt some of this on a baked potato and enjoy with a glass of Savoie white wine.
Saint Marcellin takes a while to mature but you will find that it is well worth the wait. This complex flavor is best enjoyed with a Red wine from Rhone Valley.
Enjoying a plate of cheese with a bottle of wine is a great way to spend afternoons in the country. You could say that cheese and wine in France are like apple pie in America: delicious tradition worth looking into.