There’s nothing quite like wine tasting in France. The country is home to some of the best wines in the world, and the French know how to enjoy them!
For many, enjoying French wine is synonymous with the familiar phrases of “Savoir vivre” and “Living like God in France”.
We’ll tell you why wine tasting in France is a must for any vino lover.
Wine tasting is the process of assessing the quality of a wine. It’s important to do this before you buy a bottle, because it can help you avoid getting ripped-off or buying something that’s not to your taste.
When it comes to French wines, there are a few things that make them stand out from the rest.
First of all, France is home to some of the world’s best vineyards. This means that the grapes used to make French wines are of high quality.
Additionally, French winemakers have centuries of experience perfecting their craft. As a result, they’re able to produce some truly exceptional wines.
If you’re a fan of vino, then tasting wine in France is definitely an experience you need to add to your bucket list. From world-famous Champagne to rich red Bordeaux, there’s something for everyone in France’s extensive range of wines. So what are you waiting for?
Let’s start planning your trip today.
Here is our French wine tasting summary:
- What is wine tasting and why it’s important
- The history of wine in France and how it’s become such a big part of the culture
- The importance of the right climate to produce wine
- The different types of wines you can expect to find in France
- Red Wines
- White Wines
- Rosé Wines
- Sparkling Wines
- Dessert Wines
- Here is a list of some of the most popular wine grapes in France:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
- Pinot Noir
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Grenache (Blanc / Noir)
- Quality of French wine
- How to taste wine
- How to go about planning your wine tasting trip to France
- Here are some of the best places to go wine-tasting in France:
- The Loire Valley
- Rhone Valley
- What to wear wine tasting in France?
What is wine tasting and why it’s important
Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. While wine itself is made from grapes, there are many different types of wines, each with their own distinct flavor.
The taste of wine can be affected by many factors, including the grape variety, the terroir (or growing environment), and the winemaking process. Wine tasting is important because it allows you to appreciate the complexities of wine. When you taste a wine, you should pay attention to its aroma, flavor, body, and finish. This will help you to identify the different characteristics of the wine and understand how they come together to create a unique flavor profile.
The history of wine in France and how it’s become such a big part of the culture
France is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, and its wines have been enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for centuries.
Wine tasting in France is about more than just enjoying the finished product. It’s also about learning about the process and the history behind each bottle.
When you visit a vineyard or winery in France, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the growers and producers who create these amazing wines. You’ll learn about the terroir (the land where the grapes are grown) and how it affects the flavour of the wine. And you’ll get to see first-hand how French winemakers turn grape juice into one of the world’s most beloved beverages.
The French have been making wine for over 2,000 years, and it is thought that the first vineyards were planted by the Romans during their occupation of the country. Since then, wine has been an integral part of French culture, with many famous producers and regions becoming synonymous with high-quality wines.
In the minds of most consumers, wine is inextricably linked with France. It is difficult to imagine the country without the vine. Viticulture has a long and rich tradition in France. The first vines were brought over by Greek immigrants from Asia Minor in 600 BC and they settled in the Marseille area.
The south of France remained the center of wine production for a long time due to its ideal climate conditions. However, it wasn’t until the 1st century BC that other areas of Gaul (now modern day France) began to see planted vines.
The importance of the right climate to produce wine
In general, what are French wines like? Can they be characterized and distinguished from wines from other countries by that certain something?
France doesn’t have a uniform climate, so the taste of the wine depends strongly on the climatic conditions in the growing region.
The south of the country is characterized by a Mediterranean climate and fresh winds from the Mediterranean, which has a positive effect on the ripening of grapes as well as the preservation of aromas.
The east, on the other hand, is more exposed to the continental climate and has to contend with frost and sometimes heavy rainfall.
The west is a much more temperate zone. Here, the Atlantic Ocean brings a cool but at the same time mild climate with occasional rains.
A large part of the north is not cultivated. Thus, the aroma of the wines also varies from region to region.
See also: What Makes France so Special?
The different types of wines you can expect to find in France
When it comes to wine tasting in France, there are a few different types of wines you can expect to find.
There are so many great red wines from France, it’s tough to choose just one! If we had to narrow it down, we’d say the best red wine in France is either the Châteauneuf-du-Pape or the Côte-Rôtie. Both are incredibly smooth and have a beautiful deep color.
Then we should also mention the Bordeaux wines from Château Margaux and Château Haut-Brion, as well as the Burgundy wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
All of these wines are exceptional and would make a great addition to any wine collection. But if we had to choose just one, the best red wine in France would be the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s a smooth, full-bodied wine with a deep ruby color. The flavor is rich and complex, with notes of blackberry, plum, and spice.
It’s perfect for enjoying on its own or pairing with food.
One of the most popular white wines from France include Chablis, Sancerre, and Pouilly-Fumé. All three of these wines are made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes and are known for their dry, mineral-driven flavors.
Let’s take the Chablis. This wine is crisp and refreshing, with a beautiful minerality that makes it perfect for pairing with food.
Pouilly-Fumé is another great wine in France. It’s a crisp, dry wine with a floral nose and a mineral finish. It’s perfect for pairing with seafood or poultry.
Sancerre wine tastes light and refreshing with hints of citrus and grapefruit. It is perfect for a summer day or pairing with seafood.
Then there is the Chardonnay from the Burgundy region. It has a beautiful, creamy texture and a complex flavor that really sets it apart from other white wines.
There are a lot of great Rosé wines in France. Very good ones include Chateau de Berne, Gros Plan, and Domaine du Bagnol. These wines are all fairly dry, with a good amount of acidity and fruitiness.
The taste of Chateau de Berne is fruity, fresh, and slightly sweet. It’s a great choice for a casual wine, and it’s perfect for summertime drinking.
Gros Plan is earthy and nutty with a hint of sweetness. It’s a unique flavor that you’ll love if you’re a fan of natural, unprocessed foods.
There’s no easy way to describe the taste of Domaine du Bagnol. It’s a dry, mineral-driven wine with good acidity and a bit of funkiness. Some people taste green apples and lemon, while others get more of a savory, smoky flavor. Overall, it’s a complex wine that’s definitely worth trying.
Champagne is definitely the most well-known of the bunch, and it’s perfect for special occasions. Crémant is a bit less formal, but still very delicious.
The background of Champagne wine is quite interesting! It all started in the early 18th century in the Champagne region of France. The first sparkling wines were made using the méthode champenoise, which is a traditional method of secondary fermentation. This involves adding yeast and sugar to still wine, and then bottling it before the yeast has had a chance to consume all of the sugar. This results in a wine with natural bubbles.
Today, Champagne wine is made using one of two methods: the méthode champenoise or the Charmat method.
The Charmat method is a quicker and less expensive method of making sparkling wine. It involves fermenting the wine in large tanks before bottling it.
Whether made using the méthode champenoise or the Charmat method, Champagne wines are always high quality and luxurious. They are perfect for special occasions and make a great gift!
Crémant is a sparkling wine produced in France. It is made using the traditional method of bottle fermentation. The grapes used for Crémant are the same as those used in Champagne, however Crémant wines are typically lighter and less acidic than Champagne.
Crémant is a sparkling wine made in the traditional method, and it has a delightful taste that is both fresh and creamy. The bubbles add a nice touch of effervescence, and the overall flavor is very well-balanced. It’s a great choice for any occasion, and it’s sure to please everyone.
There are a few different types of desert wines in France that are worth trying. For a sweeter wine, Sauternes is a good option. If you’re looking for something with a bit more of a bite, then try a Riesling from the Alsace region. And for something truly unique, try a Vin de Paille from the Jura region – these are made with grapes that have been dried in the sun before being pressed, resulting in a very concentrated and intense flavor.
Here is a list of some of the most popular wine grapes in France
There are many different grapes used to make French wine. There is a wide range of wines, from crisp whites to full-bodied reds, and everything in between.
There are too many significant grape varieties used in French wine to list them all here. So, with reference to the beneath mentioned wine-growing regions, we’ve compiled a list of the most well-known white and red wine varieties grown in France.
Merlot is a French red wine grape variety that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably because of the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with low tannins and are known for their easy drinkability.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular red wines in the world. It is a full-bodied wine with high tannins and a deep, dark color. The wine is made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, which is native to the Bordeaux region of France.
The grape was first planted in the Bordeaux region in the 18th century, and the wine was first made in the 19th century. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are now made all over the world, in countries such as Australia, Chile, Italy, and the United States.
The name “Cabernet Sauvignon” is actually a combination of the two names of the grapes that are used to make the wine. The word “Sauvignon” comes from the French word for “wild,” and “Cabernet” comes from the name of the grape that is used in red Bordeaux wines.
Cabernet Franc is a versatile red grape variety that can be found in many different regions of France. It is related to Cabernet Sauvignon, but typically ripens earlier and produces higher yields.
This grape variety is one of six that are allowed for use in Bordeaux wines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carménère, Malbec and Pitit Verdot.
Wines made from Cabernet Franc tend to be less tannic and more precocious than those made from other grapes.
Pinot Noir is a red wine made from the Pinot Noir grape, which is a dark-skinned grape.
The name Pinot Noir comes from the French words for “pine” and “black”. The grape is thought to have originated in Burgundy, France, and is now grown in many regions around the world.
The grapes are typically grown in cooler climates, and the wine has a reputation for being an elegant, light-bodied red wine. They have earthy, floral, and fruit flavors. They can be enjoyed young or aged, and are often used in blending with other wines.
Usually a glass of Pinot Noir is often used as an accompaniment to food, and they can be found in many different price ranges.
Each of these grapes offers a different flavor profile, so it’s important to try a few different types while you’re in France.
Chardonnay is a white wine that originated in the Burgundy region of France. It is made from the Chardonnay grape, which is a green-skinned grape.
The Chardonnay grape is thought to have originated in the Burgundy region of France. Chardonnay wine is typically white, although it can also be made in a rosé style. The flavor of Chardonnay wine can vary depending on where it is grown and how it is made.
In general, Chardonnay wines are known for being dry, with moderate to high acidity and flavors of apple, pear, citrus, and oak. Some Chardonnays can also have buttery or “toasty” notes from exposure to oak during the winemaking process.
Sauvignon Blanc is the second most important white grape variety after Chardonnay. It’s native to the French Loire Valley. Wines made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes are fresh and full of distinctive aromas, like currant and gooseberry. They often have green tones of flavor, like freshly mown grass. In addition, they have a unique minerality and a tangy acid structure.
The Sémillon grape from the southwest of France is an excellent white wine grape that guarantees very fine, noble sweet or dry white wines of the highest quality.
The best wines are produced by blending Sémillon with another variety, such as Sauvignon Blanc. Although it is common for Sauvignon to make up the majority of the blend in dry wines, and for Sémillon to be the primary grape in sweet wines, there are some important exceptions.
The Carignan grape is a high-yielding red variety that is widely planted in the French Midi, Spain, Algeria and California.
It often yields a quite satisfactory wine if not an exquisite one.
The Carignan vine is large and conical to cylindrical in shape with branches or shoulders and densely berried. The berries are roundish in shape, medium sized and black-blue in color . The skin of the vine is thick-skinned and the flesh of its fruit very juicy.
Charming and light, this excellent red wine variety is characterized by its youthful freshness.
The Gamay grapes have a cylindrical shape, are of medium size, mostly shouldered, and densely berried. Their berries of medium size and slightly oval shine purple-black , surrounded by a thin skin and with a neutral flavor.
This French variety is known for its long history, beautiful color and rich aroma that combines spice and fruit.
The Malbec grapevine is medium sized, shouldered and loose-grained. Its roundish and small berries are blue-black, hardly juicy and have a thick-skinned skin. The grape variety buds early, which makes it sensitive to late spring frosts.
Grenache (Blanc / Noir)
One of the most popular red grape varieties in the world, which originated in Spain. Grenache is well known for its moderate wines.
However, with proper yield limiting and blending with other varieties, it can make high-quality wines.
Additionally, there is also a white Grenache variety that is used to make different types of white wine.
Quality of French wine
French wine is some of the best in the world, thanks to its strict quality control measures.
Each type of wine is assigned a quality category, with the highest level being awarded the AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) certificate. Previously, the AOC (Appellation d’Origine Côntrolée) was used instead of the AOP, but it could only be given to red wines produced using traditional methods from a specific region.
This means that French red wine can only receive this certification if it has been produced faithfully to its origin and showcases traditional viticulture practices from its respective region.
The French wine is often awarded the AOP certificate. This is because many of the red wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Loire or Provence are excellent. In addition to these great wines with an AOC certificate, there are also delicious table and country wines that come from France.
How to taste wine
There’s no one right way to taste wine, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your wine-tasting experience.
First, take a good look at the wine in your glass. Swirl it around and really take in the color and clarity. Then, give it a good smell. Don’t be afraid to really get your nose in there and take a deep sniff.
After that, take a small sip and let the wine linger in your mouth for a bit before swallowing. Pay attention to the taste and see if you can pick out any of the flavors or aromas you noticed when smelling the wine.
Finally, think about how the wine makes you feel. Is it light and refreshing, or rich and full-bodied? Do you enjoy it, or does it leave you wanting more? There’s no wrong answer here – it’s all about what YOU like.
So go ahead and explore different wines and find out what YOU enjoy!
How to go about planning your wine tasting trip to France
Wine tasting in France is a must-do for any wine lover. But how do you go about planning your trip?
First, decide which region of France you want to visit. The country is home to many different wine regions, each with its own unique climate and soil type. This will help narrow down your choices of wineries to visit.
Next, make a list of the wineries you want to visit and research them ahead of time. Check their websites or call ahead to find out what kinds of wines they specialize in and if they offer tours or tastings.
Finally, once you’ve made all your plans, it’s time to start packing! Remember to bring comfortable shoes and clothing, as well as sun protection if you’re visiting during the summer months. And of course, don’t forget your camera so you can capture all those beautiful vineyards!
If you’re looking for an unforgettable wine-tasting experience, France is the perfect place to be. With its numerous world-famous vineyards and stunning scenery, you can’t go wrong.
Here are some of the best places to go wine-tasting in France
The wine-growing region of Bordeaux, which covers about 120,000 hectares, is named after the city of the same name.
The entire department of Gironde is devoted to wine production. The region is especially known for its high-quality red wines, which are made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grapes. Some of the most famous labels from Bordeaux include Pomerol, Saint-Émilion, and Fronsac.
The flavor is typically full-bodied and have high tannin levels.
It’s the perfect place to start your wine-tasting journey.
Join this tour: From Bordeaux: Full-Day St Emilion Wine Tasting Tour
The Côte de Beaune region is popular for its high-quality red wines with intense fruit flavor and soft texture. This region is all about Pinot Noir, so if you’re a fan of this grape, you’ll be in heaven.
There are a few great places to drink wine in Burgundy. One option is to head to the city of Beaune, which is home to many great wine bars and restaurants.
Or you go directly where the grapes grow and visit some of the region’s many vineyards and wineries – many of which offer tastings and tours.
And, of course, no visit to Burgundy would be complete without enjoying a glass or two (or more!) in one of the many picturesque villages dotting the countryside.
Renowned producers are Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Leflaive.
In the picturesque northern part of Burgundy lies Chablis – a region renowned for its white wines made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape.
Join this tour: From Beaune: Burgundy 10 Wines Grand Cru Tasting Day Trip
The bubbly wines of this region are world-famous, so you can’t visit France without trying some Champagne.
The most popular grape varieties here include Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The traditional method includes a second fermentation in the bottle.
There are plenty of things to do in Champagne beyond visiting the vineyards, so make sure to explore the charming villages and towns in the region. For a truly unique experience, take a hot air balloon ride over the picturesque countryside.
Join this tour to visit the famous Moët & Chandon wine cellars, enjoy a French 3-course lunch with champagne aperitif, visit the museum at De Castellane Champagne.
The Loire Valley
This picturesque region is home to some of France’s most refined white wines, which are typically dry and light-bodied. The most popular grape varieties here include Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc.
Be sure to stop by Château de la Grange Blanc, as it is one of the most popular and renowned wineries in the region and an unforgettable experience. Or visit some of the other top producers, such as Domaine Vacheron and Domaine des Comtes Lafon.
Reds from the Rhone Valley are some of the most bodied and rich in all of France. The addition of tannins give these wines their structure, while the terroir provides red fruit flavors that are characteristic of the region.
Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe is THE appellation to know, where Grenache Noir reigns supreme. These full-bodied wines can age for years or be enjoyed upon release – it just depends on your preference!
What to wear wine tasting in France?
A day of wine tasting in France is a perfect opportunity to dress up a little bit!
First and foremost, remember that you’ll be doing a lot of walking. So, comfortable shoes are a must. You also want to dress for the weather. If it’s warm out, opt for light, airy fabrics. If it’s cooler, go for layers that you can add or remove as needed.
As far as colors go, white and light colors are always a good choice for wine tastings. They help keep you cool and they won’t affect your ability to see the color of the wine in your glass.
Of course, you also want to look stylish. After all, this is France we’re talking about! A nice sundress or blouse with slacks or a skirt is always a good choice. And don’t forget to accessorize with a beautiful scarf or piece of jewelry.
See also: Your Stylish City Break Packing List
If you’re looking for a truly unique wine tasting experience, then you need to head to France. There’s no better place to enjoy some of the world’s best wines than in the country where they’re made.
Not only will you be able to sample some of the finest wines available, but you’ll also get to enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn about the rich history and culture of France.
Wine tasting in France is an experience not to be missed.