"France Land of Wines"

France together with Italy is undoubtedly the homeland of the greatest wines in the world and due to its quality and quantity produced there are very few who can say with certainty that they know all the products in detail. 
This small guide aims to be a tool for choosing the most suitable wine, starting from the place of origin and trying to explain the processing method and the main characteristics. 
First of all we must know that France, since the first post-war period, has started a rigorous process of classification of wines and vineyards, a classification based on functional rigor. Therefore precise rules to delimit the area, production method, variety of vines used, processing times and methods, maturation, refinement, yield per hectare, minimum alcohol level and every other single aspect.
At the top are the AOC (Appellations d'origine contrôlée), whose rigorous certification is issued by Inao (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine).
Below, the VDQS (Vins délimités de Qualité Supérieure), an intermediate category for wines of particular value, which are well on their way to obtaining the qualification of AOC.
The VPs (Vins de Pays) were established as a stimulus for the improvement of the VTs (Vins de Table).
France is a vast territory, characterized by a remarkable variety of landscapes: from the great coastal plains of the North and West, to the mountain ranges (Alps, Pyrenees...). The rivers, then, define the wine landscape in a decisive way (Loire, Rhone, Garonne, Seine; Reno, Meuse, Moselle...). The climate varies a lot from area to area - and this creates different conditions for different vines and wines - but it is always quite temperate.



This area in the south of France, on the border with Spain, is known above all for its red wines produced with Grenache grapes alone or blended with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignano. Powerful wines, generally characterized by a nice spiciness. Here are also produced particular sparkling wines, the Crémant de Limoux or Blanquette de Limoux, which many consider the true ancestors of Champagne. They are produced with Chardonnay or Mauzac.



 We are in the western part of France where the smell of the Atlantic Ocean is strong and intoxicating! Here the red wines that come from the left and right banks of the Garonne stand out above all. On the left, important wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are produced, destined to last for decades. Names like Médoc  and Margaux mean nothing? To the right of the river, softer wines are produced, always bese Merlot with Cabernet Franc. Pomerol and Saint-Émilion are two examples. White wines are also produced, in truth few, generally based on Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. More interesting are undoubtedly the sweet wines of Bordeaux, the prestigious Sauternes.


Rhone Valley

This region of southern France is divided into two parts to the north the wines are mainly born from Syrah. In the South, Syrah is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre. If you find the writing Châteauneuf-du-Pape on the label, it is a wine that comes from this area. A small percentage of white wines are also produced. In this case made with Marsanne and Roussanne grapes.


Loire Valley

North of the Bordeaux area, this is a land of white wines. In particular based on Sauvignon Blanc, such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, or Chenin Blanc, produced in dry, sweet, still or sparkling versions, and above all Muscadet, which experts consider the true oyster wine (never Champagne). Few red wines, not particularly known, especially based on Cabernet Franc, defined as rustic and herbaceous.



It is probably the least known area of the French vineyard. Here red wines based on Malbec grapes are produced, medium bodied and not too marked tannins. On the other hand, the reds produced in this area with Tannat grapes, also nicknamed "tannin du diable", are of a completely different nature. Tannic and acidic wines destined to age for tens of years (also because when young they are really very difficult to drink). One name above all: Madiran. Finally, among the whites, the wines produced with Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes stand out, similar to our Trebbiano. Easy and drinkable wines.



From Italy it only takes a few hours by car to find yourself in one of the most fascinating but underestimated French wine areas. Rosé is produced in Provence often characterized by a very pale color called "onion skin". Alongside them are red wines capable of very long ageing, generally produced from Mourvèdre grape.



Fame, history and often legend intertwine in this region of extraordinary charm. It goes without saying that it is the most famous sparkling wine region in the world and that Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier dominate here.



The British call this area Burgundy. We are in the center of the country, slightly shifted towards the east, just below Champagne. This is the land of the best and most famous Pinot Noirs in the world (does the name Domaine de la Romanée-Conti say anything?). But also fabulous Chardonnays that may or may not be aged in wood. Among the latter, the most famous are undoubtedly the Chablis.



Many know this name only for the phenomenon of Beaujolais Nouveau, similar to our Novello wine. Here the Gamay grape dominates, from which very colorful and fragrant wines come.



A very small area located on the border with Germany. And it is quite difficult to distinguish the wines produced by the French from those of the Germans at first glance. Land of whites, here dominate the Rieslings, famous for their marked acidity and longevity, the Pinot Grigio, particularly fruity, and above all the Gewürztraminer, aromatic whites par excellence. Also not to be forgotten are the famous Crémant d'Alsace, the sparkling wines produced in these areas, with Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc or in the 100% Pinot Noir Rosé version.



 This is the land of French red and rosé wines, produced with Nielluccio, or Sangiovese, often blended with an autochthonous vine called Sciaccarellu. Among the whites there is the classic Vermentino, fresh, rich and fruity. To taste it without too much attention it could be mistaken for one coming from nearby Sardinia.


Bugey, Jura and Savoy  

 Even a step away from the border with Italy there are interesting wines. In the Bugey area a red sparkling wine is produced (is there Lambrusco?) based on Pinot Noir and Gamay. In the Jura region, instead, the Vin Jaune, an oxidized white wine with interesting notes of dried fruit and spices. Lastly, Savoy is a mountainous region where few wines are produced, most of which are destined for the production of vermouth.