French Wine

Perhaps no country evokes such strong associations with fine wine as does France. Its reputation has led to worldwide imitation. Many varieties that are now considered international, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, are French, and winemaking pioneers in New World regions such as California and Chile look to the great wines of France as their benchmark.


France has been making wine since approximately 600 BC, and was its largest producer until it was passed by Italy in 2008.  With over 800,000 hectacres under vine, it has the largest vineyard area in the world after Spain. It is, however, the world’s largest producer of fine wines. AC wines constitute over 45 percent of its production, compared with 12 to 15 percent of Italy’s, for example.

One advantage France has over other wine-producing countries is the great variety of growing climates it encompasses. Its south has a Mediterranean climate, with a warm sun that can be relied on to fully ripen grapes. Western France Read more »

Mentor for French Wines

Christy Canterbury MW

Master of Wine. Wine judge+public speaker. Journalist for Snooth+Decanter+TimAtkin.com+Beverage Media+SOMM Journal+Civiltà del Bere+others. Short-listed for the 2014 Roederer Online Communicator of the Year Award. Incorrigible traveler!

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Popular wines made in France under $20

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Varietals Produced in France View all

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

Subregions of France

  • Alsace

    This region, wedged between the Rhine River and the Voges Mountains, is the product of a fascin...

  • Armagnac

      Armagnac is a grape brandy that is produced in the Gascony region of France. It’s the olde...

  • Bordeaux

    Located around the Gironde estuary and along the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, Bordeaux is one o...

  • Burgundy

      Burgundy is perhaps the most complex and intimidating of French wine regions. It is locate...

  • Champagne

      Champagne is the most famous sparkling wine region in the world. It is located in northeas...

  • Cognac

      Table wine production has existed in the Cognac region of France since the Romans first pl...

  • Jura

    Jura is a French wine region that lies between Burgundy and Switzerland. The wines produced her...

  • Languedoc-roussillon

      This incredibly diverse region produces about a quarter of all the wine made in France, bu...

  • Loire

      The Loire River valley is a massively varied viticultural region in northwestern France. I...

  • Provence

    Sun-soaked Provence – home of the celebrated destinations of St. Tropez and Cannes, and beloved...

  • Rhône

      Located along a section of the Rhone river in southeastern France, this is really two regi...

  • Savoie

    Vin de Savoie is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) situation in the Alps. The wines from...

  • South West France

    South West France, or Sud Ouest, is a large expanse that covers several districts within the co...

  • Aquitaine and Charentes

  • Auvergne

Popular Wineries in France View all

  • Château de Pommard

    Today, Château de Pommard is the largest private vineyard in Bourgogne. Its 20 hectares of wines ...

  • Lamothe

    We had this wine while in the Bahamas and loved it. Would like to know where we can purchase it...

  • Château De Seguin

    Château de Seguin in Bordeaux is part of the CHRIS-WINE Group. An indenpendent and family owned w...

  • Château Franc Cardinal

    This estate was originally owned by Jean-Louis Lacour but he sent most of his production to a n...

  • Château Timberlay

    Château Timberlay (appellation Bordeaux Supérieur) is located in Saint-Andre-de-Cubzac. It symbol...

  • Moët & Chandon

      Moet & Chandon is one of the most well-known luxury champagne producers in the word. Wi...

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France on Snooth

  • Deux Roches Vire-Clesse Tradition Collovray & Terrier 2014

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by martins2002


  • Albert Bichot Domaine Long Depaquit 2013

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by martins2002


  • Thanks PaulIts a very good summary and exactly in line from what I here in ... ... ... forget that the Big 3 - France,Spain and Italy are still over 50% of global wine productionAustralia sits around the 4-5% mark and I think the US is in the 6-7%Not that long ago Gallo produced more wine than Oz in total&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Australian Wine Exports


  • Château Petit Village Pomerol 2011

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by gntop1


  • Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages Combe Aux Jacques Beaujolais

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by eric4x4


  • Mercurey Clos Fortoul 1999

    Snoothrank:

    I bought this bottle of wine for £10 from the website www.bidforwine.co.uk/auctions/show/114149.Mercurey is an appellation created in 1936[although there has been viticulture here for centuries] for red and white wines [90% are red] from the two communes of Mercurey and Saint Martin sous Montaigue on the Cotes Chalonaise in Burgundy.There are 32... Read More

    Wine review by duncan 906


  • I have a friend in China that was the WSET Wine Educator of the Year 2016 - is ... ... industry by 2005). France has lost some of its market share by value and volume, but is still the most important COO for China.  So, in sum, Australia is doing well in China and the future currently looks bright for them in terms of realistic growth; althou... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Australian Wine Exports


  • Château Junayme Canon-Fronsac 1995

    Snoothrank:

    I bought this bottle of wine for only £1 [although I did also have to pay a delivery charge] from the website www.bidforwine.co.uk/auctions/show/113912 Fronsac is an appellation created in 1936 for red and rose wines from seven communes around the village of that name west of the town of Libourne and north of the Dordogne river.Canon-Fronsac is ... Read More

    Wine review by duncan 906


  • OT has a good point - alcohol levels have risen over the past few decades, but ... lot of innovation came from France, particularly Bordeaux and Burgundy, because they need to turn out product every year and couldn't rely on sunny weather like they can in much of CA, which is approximately the size of France. So it's as accurate to talk about ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Alcohol Levels in Californian...


  • Riesling, sherry, and claret, most likely. Those are what Queen Victoria ... a ... a result of the enmity with France falling away - Portugal and Spain, after the Armada anyway, were more reliable allies than France, what with Napoleon and all.What's interesting is that in the 1930s, Great Britain imported only a fraction of the wine that Fran... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Historical Wine Question


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