Last Updated on 03/12/2021 by Alfred
Wine tourism is a trendy branch of tourism that is becoming more and more democratic. Discover the 16 best regions of France to taste wine.
France is ranked at the top of the countries consuming the most wine (44.2 liters per year per person). It will always be the country in which wine is an emblem.
France is the leading exporting country by monetary value with 750,000 hectares of vines or one million rugby fields.
France’s wines are prized; they can be very affordable or costly. Wine qualities fluctuate as much as prices, but they are not always proportional.
Tasting wine in France is a bit of a cliché. However, wine tourism, which consists of discovering wine regions, attracts more than 10 million visitors a year.
Nearly 40% of whom are foreigners! France is fortunate to offer a gargantuan amount of wines, from red to white, rosé, muscadet, or champagne.
The 16 Best Regions of France To Taste Wine
1. The Loire Valley
The Loire is the longest river in France. On its banks, castles, vineyards, wine estates. This region is called “Loire Valley,” or “Douce France,” and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What makes the Loire Valley one of the best regions in France to taste wine is what it has to offer: Chardonnay (white), Chinon (red), Bourgueil (red), Sauvignon (white), Pinot noir (red)…
Discover light, complex, dry, mellow, or tannic wines in the 800 kilometers of the Loire and its 70,000 hectares of vines.
You can choose from a variety of itineraries to explore this vast region.
Whether you choose the Muscadet route, the Anjou wine route (Cabernet, in particular), Touraine wines, or the Heart of France wine route (Menetou-Salon, Quincy, or Pouilly-Fumé, for the best known), there are many emblematic places (castles, abbeys,…) to visit in parallel with wine tastings.
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As its name suggests, the Champagne region is the cradle of this refined wine that is champagne. Its fine bubbles, taste, and golden color make it famous and rank Champagne among the most remarkable regions of France to taste wine.
Make no mistake: if champagne is the symbol, the region produces other varieties of wine.
It is divided into four parts: the Montagne de Reims, the Marne Valley, the Côte des Blancs and the Bar Valley. Each of these parts has its characteristics, which allows them to offer different wines and champagnes.
The Champagne vineyards extend over 34,500 hectares and are home to many Houses with varied terroirs and heritage.
For example, the Maison Hautvillers, where Dom Pérignon lived! Wine tourism puts this aspect forward: wine tasting, yes, but it covers France from another angle!
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In addition to the fact that Corsica perfectly bears its nickname of Island of Beauty, it is also one of the best regions of France to taste wine.
Many vineyards on the Mediterranean island wedged between sea and mountain, which enjoy the sun most of the year. Corsica produces rosé, white and red wines; some are PDO, and nearly 50% of Corsican production is Protected Geographical Indications.
Corsican wines are not easy to reproduce off their land! Wine tasting in Corsica will guide you from north to south, from the Coteaux du Cap Corse to the vineyards of Figari. Cap Corse also produces a very sweet muscat, typical of the region.
The island is rich in vineyards, more than 7000 hectares, and its local gastronomy (cold cuts, cheeses, and biscuits) will delight you and accompany your wine tastings. Also, its history and architectural heritage will enhance your visits.
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4. The Bordeaux region
Bordeaux is one of the best wine regions to taste wine in France, if not the best. Indeed, known worldwide, Bordeaux wines have made the region’s reputation and still contribute to it today.
There is even a Bordeaux Wine Festival that takes place annually in Hong Kong (China)!
Spanning more than 117,000 hectares and with many vintages, some of which are exceptional, Bordeaux is one of the most widespread wine estates in the world.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (reds), Muscadelle, and Sauvignon (whites) are mythical Bordeaux grape varieties. Of course, the historical, cultural, and architectural heritages make the wine tasting experience even more impressive.
Many very prestigious châteaux with classified growths punctuate the region, among them: Pétrus, Yquem, or Cheval Blanc (the price of bottles ranging from more than 300 to nearly 3300 € per unit).
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Burgundy is not just dijon, and it’s mustard. In contrast, Burgundy wines are very well known: Chablis, Mâcon, Meursault, Pommard… and many others.
The city of Beaune is considered the regional capital of wine, and its 29,400 hectares of vineyards are spread over more than 200 kilometers.
More than 25,000 of these hectares are classified as AOCs. This makes the Burgundy region very attractive to wine-tasting enthusiasts.
Thus, many routes exist to visit the Burgundy vineyards, ranging from the Côte Chalonnaise to the tour of the Mâconnais, passing by the inevitable Grands Crus of Burgundy of the Côte de Nuits and Beaune.
Did you know? Beaujolais – poor child of the vineyards of France – is attached to the vineyards of Burgundy.
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Alsace, in terms of winegrowers, quickly evokes the Gewurztraminer or the Crémant d’Alsace. Yet, it is much more than that! It can boast of being one of the best regions of France to taste wine, mainly because its production is exceptional: the focus goes to white wines!
Additionally, sparkling wines, reds, and rosés are available to complement these whites.
The Alsatian vineyard was the first to be open to wine tourism. The Issenheim tourist office came up with establishing an Alsace Wine Route in 1953 to promote the region as a viticulture destination.
Nearly 170 kilometers of road across the 15,500 hectares of Alsace vineyards. Despite being more modest than other regions, Alsace remains one of the most visited wine regions in the world.
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7. The Côtes du Rhône
Similar to the Rhône Valley, vineyards were planted all along its banks. The Rhone region is divided into two topographically distinct parts: one is said to be northern and the other southern.
The north part extends inland, between Vienna and Valence, while the southern is between Montélimar and Avignon.
They share some prestigious grape varieties: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Hermitage, Château-grillet, or Saint-Joseph. The Rhone Valley is a region that produces more red wine than white, rosé, or sparkling wine.
It has an appellation well known to the general public and tourists: the Côte-du-Rhône. It is spread over 44,000 hectares of vines on the banks of the Rhône.
The Rhone Valley is as rich in history as in grape varieties. Take the opportunity to be in one of the best regions of France to taste wine!
Visit its surroundings, its history… And discover its breathtaking Roman and ancient architectural heritage.
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8. The Jura
The Jura region has very particular, even inimitable, grape varieties. Jura wines are unique in that they do not have an equivalent in the world.
For example, Vin Jaune, extremely dry wine or straw wine, is very sweet and lovely. Both white wines are very famous for their fantastic aging over time.
The vineyard itself is pretty small, compared to those of other regions, with its 1,800 hectares.
Despite this, the Jura is one of the best regions in France to taste wine because it is surprisingly found a lot in Franche-Comté cuisine: it is used in the composition of many local dishes and goes very well with morel. Notice to lovers of food and wine pairings!
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Another part of the country’s south is part of the best wine regions to visit in France: Provence. Endowed with many AOC and AOP, Provence is a region of hillsides and rosés.
Stretching between Les Baux-de-Provence and Fréjus, the Provençal wine region is one of the most famous in France, with its 26,000 hectares spread over three departments.
This gives rise to the three main AOCs: Coteaux-de-Provence, Coteaux Varois, and Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. Like many French vineyards, Provence offers many possibilities around wine tasting: cultural visits, impressive landscapes (the Alpilles, the village of Baux-de-Provence,…), or seaside towns to discover (Saint-Tropez).
A little anecdote about Provençal wines: they are the ones that the CHR distribution channels (Cafés, Hotels, Restaurants) offer the most (66% of them), followed closely by Bordeaux wines (64%).
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On the alpine slopes, from Lake Geneva to the south of Chambéry, the Savoyard grape varieties offer wines of mainly white character: Pinot, Chardonnay, Chasselas, or Bergeron. Nearby, in the department of Ain, you can taste reds, rosés, and whites that will make your taste buds shudder. Do not miss the tasting of Cerdon, a surprising effervescent red.
Welcome to the southernmost of the regions of France to taste wine. In the department of the Eastern Pyrenees, the vineyards plunge into the Mediterranean Sea.
In this beautiful sunny region, you will taste natural sweet wines, absolutely exquisite. A discovery not to be missed. It is also the terroir of the delicate Banyuls, a wine aged on the French Catalan coasts, on the Spanish border.
Who has never heard of the famous Beaujolais? It is a table wine par excellence, and its vineyard is fifty kilometers long and fifteen kilometers wide between Mâcon and Lyon.
This region also has many other cool appellations popular with connoisseurs: Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Chiroubles, It is aor Saint-Amour.
Yes: Beaujolais wines are available in other appellations than Beaujolais Nouveau! Check them out.
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13. The Languedoc
Languedoc has a huge vineyard all along the Mediterranean coasts: from Leucate, in the west, to Nîmes and the Camargue, in the east, from the foothills of the Cévennes to the gates of Carcassonne.
Between sea and mountains, Languedoc wines cover three departments: Aude, Gard, and Hérault. Red, white, rosé, sweet, sparkling wines, this beautiful region in the south of France offers you a highly diverse range of wines, whatever your budget.
Among them, we find the gray and white Grenaches, the macabeu, the Clairette, the bourboulenc or the chardonnay, and the muscat.
Welcome to one of the smallest wine regions to taste wine in France. In the departments of Meuse, Moselle, and Meurthe-et-Moselle, different recognized grape varieties are produced.
A stone’s throw from Luxembourg, the Moselle offers dry and fruity white wines, such as Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Pinot blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, a stone’ or Côtes-de-Toul.
On only 500 hectares, the small vineyard of Poitou-Charente produces mainly cognac. Notice to amateurs! The region also produces Sauvignon Blancs and Cabernet Francs Rouges.
It is also known for the famous Pineau-des-Charentes, a mixture of the main Cognac grape varieties with fresh reasons.
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16. The Southwest
Exceptionally vast, the South-West wine region stretches from the foothills of the Massif Central to the Pyrenees via the Garonne and the Bergeracois.
On these lands, more than twenty different appellations! Here, tradition reigns supreme.
Some grape varieties date back several centuries, such as Manseng, Tannat, or Négrette. These authentic wines of all colors will delight all lovers. Enjoy the gastronomic specialties of the region!