France has a wide range of both white and red wines. Everything from light to heavy, dry to sweet, plus sparkling wines officially known as Champagne. French wines lead the world in quality. The area adjacent to the port of Bordeaux is the home of the widely planted “noble” vine, the Cabernet Sauvignon, which, with other related varieties, principally Cabernet Franc and Merlot produces famous red wine. Burgundy is a smaller region but produces many famous wines from two related grape varieties: Pinot Noir for reds and Chardonnay for whites. The best reds come from the Côte d’Or. The Rhône valley produces excellent full-bodied reds such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côte Rotie, and Hermitage. The Champagne region in northern France produces indisputably the best sparkling wine in the world. Other good sparkling wines are produced in the Loire, Burgundy, and Savoie.

Written on October 21st, 2010

A Virtual Tour of Grapes, Wines, Wineries