There are 9 principle wine regions in France. They are Burgundy, Beaujolais, Rhone, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, Bordeaux, Loire, Champagne and Alsace.
Many of the internationally prominent grapes are native to these regions and they are as follows:
-Burgundy: Pinot Noir or Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay
-Bordeaux: Merlot, Canernet Sauvignon
-Alsace: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer
Some would question as to why these grapes from France are grown and utilized for wine making in different wine regions of the world instead of their own native grapes. Well, study shows that many of wine regions like North America, Argentina, South Africa, etc. do not have a variety of native grapes that can be used to produce wine. Additionally, since the French winemakers have always been the authority in wine making throughout the world with the exception of the Italians, who use pretty impressive methods to produce high quality and award winning wines, have been able to influence wine making in widely known wine regions of the world and use native French grapes to produce wine in these regions. Now, whether or not, these grapes always result in tasty wines in these regions totally depends on the expertise of the wine maker, the terrain and the climate.
In any event, the 9 wine regions of France tend to produce wines that are very much typical to those regions and not characterized by the types of grape that are used to make them. For example in France you usually don't see the name of the grape written on the bottle of the wine, rather you see the region where the wine was produced that has a specific characteristic coming from the climate, the terroir and lastly the type of grape used in that region. That is why, Chassagne Montracher has a different taste and characteristic than Nuits Saint George but both regions use Pinot Noir or Pinot Blanc to produce their wines!
So, in France wines are characterized and known by their regions rather than by their grapes.
I will get into details about each wine producing regions of France in my upcoming articles.
Cordon Bleu Chef/Author
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