With over 2.2 million acres of land dedicated to grape vines, France is one of the largest
wine producing countries in the world. Although there are close to 100 wine growing
departments in France, the most notable are displayed to the right.
Move your mouse over each region to see a brief description of
that region. Clicking on a region will bring you to a list of
wines available from that region in our stores.
Generally speaking, Burgundy is a 160 mile stretch of land running north-south from
Cote d'Or to Beaujolais. Because of the cooler climate found in Burgundy, the majority
of white wines from Burgundy are made from the Chardonnay grape. The Burgundian climate is
also perfect for the fickle Pinot Noir grape, which makes up most of Burgundy's red wines.
The notable exception is the Gamay grape used in red wines from Beaujolais.
Despite its world-wide fame, the vineyards in Champagne take up a relatively small area
of France. Champagne has many districts but is most known for two main areas - Reims and
Epernay. Reims, located in the northern edge of Champagne, produces fine, full-bodied wines.
Epernay, located in the southern edge of Champagne, yields softer wines. Although almost all
wines from Champagne are white, a majority of the grapes grown in this region are red, most
notably Pinot Noir. By crushing these grapes without the skin, Champagne wines contain a
straw-like, pale yellow color. Only wines from Champagne called Blanc-de-Blancs are made
with 100% white grapes, always Chardonnay.
Highly influenced by neighboring Germany, France's Alsace region is quickly establishing
its own identity. Among the grapes grown in Alsace, two shine above the rest - Riesling
and Gewurztraminer. These white wines are generally totally dry (unlike those from
Germany) yet display the same varietal character. Two other white grapes of note are Muscat
and Pinot Gris. Normally Alsatian wines are very dry, but one exception is the Late Harvest
wine which is a deliciously sweet dessert wine.
The Rhone Valley is split into Northern and Southern Rhone. Although most red Rhone wines
are produced from Syrah, the styles can very greatly between the two geographic regions.
Southern Rhone is hot and dry, producing big robust red wines including those from
Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. The Southern Rhone also produces delicious Blush wines,
most notably from Tavel. Northern Rhone red wines from Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, and Crozes-Hermitage
have more finesse. A white wine from Northern Rhone's Condrieu area, made from the Viognier grape,
is quite brilliant.
There has been a tremendous improvement in the quality of wines coming from this region, the
southernmost in France. Although wines from this region were originally simple table wines,
producers have recently begun producing wines of specific varietals, including Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
This highly important region in France produces over 30 million cases of wine each year.
Although Bordeaux does produce some fine Sauvignon Blanc wines, the region is most known for
its red wines, commonly known as Clarets. Bordeaux is divided by the Gironde River into "Left Bank"
and "Right Bank" sub-regions. Wines from the "Left Bank" are predominantly made from Cabernet
Sauvignon. These wines generally require several years of aging before the wines reach their
peak. Wines from the "Right Bank" are predominantly made from Merlot. These lighter reds require
less time to reach maturity.
Named after the Loire river which runs from Southern Burgundy to the Atlantic Ocean, the
Loire Valley is home to some of the finest white wines in the world. Sauvignon Blanc thrives
in this region and contributes to great wines from Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. White wines from
Vouvray are fine examples of the Chenin Blanc grape. Muscadet also produces fantastic white
wines. In addition to white wines, the Loire Valley also produces outstanding Rose wines.
Click on a colored area for a list of all wines available from that