Things You Need to Know About French Wine

An expert breaks down the seven top French wine regions.
French wine
The greatest French wine regions, scaled by acres of vines.

Ranking the French Wine Regions

France is currently the second-largest wine-producing country on Earth (after Italy), creating more than six billion bottles, on average, each year. The relatively unprestigious Languedoc-Roussillon pumps out the biggest quantities, mostly for domestic consumption, but map out the regions by reputation and suddenly (and arguably) Bordeaux moves up to No. 1, followed by Burgundy.

Seven Top French Wine Regions by Acres of Vines

  • Languedoc-Roussillon 528,000 Acres
  • Bordeaux 306,000 Acres
  • Rhône Valley 188,700 Acres
  • Loire Valley 158,000 Acres
  • Burgundy 125,000 Acres
  • Champagne 75,000 Acres
  • Alsace 34,000 Acres
French Wine: Bordeaux
© Nigel Blythe/Cephas

French Wine: Bordeaux

Main Varietals:

White Wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Muscadelle
Red Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec

A closer look at Bordeaux wine

French Wine: Burgundy
© Theo Morrison

French Wine: Burgundy

Main Varietals:

White Wines: Chardonnay
Red Wines: Pinot Noir, Gamay (in Beaujolais)

A closer look at Burgundy Wine

French Wine: Champagne
© Theo Morrison

French Wine: Champagne

Main Varietals:

White Wines: Chardonnay
Red Wines: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier

A closer look at the Champagne region

French Wine: The Loire Valley

French Wine: The Loire Valley

Main Varietals:

White Wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne
Red Wines: Cabernet Franc, Cot (Malbec)

A closer look at the Loire Valley

French Wine: Alsace
Courtesy of Terlato Wines

French Wine: Alsace

Main Varietals:

White Wines: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc
Red Wines: Pinot Noir

A closer look at Alsace

French Wine: Languedoc-Roussillon
© Theo Morrison

French Wine: Languedoc-Roussillon

Main Varietals:

White Wines: Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne
Red Wines: Grenache, Syrah, Carignane, Cinsaut

A closer look at Languedoc-Roussillon

French Wine: The Rhône Valley
© Theo Morrison

French Wine: The Rhône Valley

Main Varietals:

White Wines: Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier
Red Wines: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre

A closer look at the Rhône Valley

video Video: French Wine Regions


French Wine Pairing Tips:

PUBLISHED October 2011

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