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

Mary John Baumann, DWS

Accredited wine expert with advanced wine education, sales and lecturing talent. Creative marketer with demonstrated success in global marketing and development of leading multinational luxury brands.

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Popular wines made in France under $20

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Varietals Produced in France View all

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • Syrah

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

  • Merlot

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

  • 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

  • Lamothe

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

  • Cordier

    United since the merger of two century-old trading houses, Cordier and Mestrezat.The Cordier Mest...

  • Château Paul Mas

    For over 170 years, González Byass has committed itself to research and quality for its range of ...

  • Château De Seguin

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

  • Château Timberlay

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

  • Albert Bichot

    From !#%0, the Bichot family was established in Burgundy, with a deer as a symbol. is is only in ...

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France on Snooth

  • Louis Jadot Chateau des Jacques Moulin-a-Vent 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Light bodied and fruity with lots of acidity. Nice. Read More

    Wine review by RandyFisher


  • Cadet d'Oc Pinot Noir 2011

    Snoothrank:

    it seems very polite and fresh and calm as a good pinot noir should with just a hint of pzazz. Read More

    Wine review by Pickit4flavor


  • Hey everybody - I just came back from my trip, so a quick update is in order. ... to Beaune and then Dijon, France. I toured several wine caves and tasted some great Burgundy wine, then hit up a couple wine shops to take home a stash of Burgundy and Bordeaux wines. (Customs didn't bother charging me anything.) I do prefer the more full body wi... Read More

    Forum post in the topic One Day in Europe for Wine...


  • Clos du Mont-Olivet Red Rhone Blend Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2008

    Snoothrank:

    This 2008 (an average vintage) from the reputable Clos du Mont-Olivet has the ... the lamb stews of southern France. Decent stuff that could keep through 2019. 88 point Read More

    Wine review by zufrieden


  • Don't forget that history also applies to farming practices. You grow ... ... ... Cabernet Sauvignon, from France, didn't appear until sometime in the 17th century. Merlot is older and it was useful because it ripened before the winter rains and snow showed up.But the wine that was shipped over to Britain from France during the Roman times and... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Claret, other historical wine...


  • Claret is indeed a term that has been used in this country to describe red ... ... large swathes of what is now France came under the English crown. It is interesting that Richard mentions Berry Brothers and Rudd because,although they are one of the world's oldest wine merchants I do not think they coined the word 'claret 'I have actually visi... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Claret, other historical wine...


  • Maybe they had wanted to use Meritage (also OK in this instance as a generic ... ... is sometimes used now in France to describe a lighter color between most reds and rose. Likely the typical Bordeaux in those days was lighter than what comes from the better chateaux now, which is one reason why they spiked it with cheap (in those days) syrah ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Claret, other historical wine...


  • Spinning this discussion out from another thread.To start with, here is a ... ... from Bordeaux.  I guess France has no claim to that name.  So, usage of that nomenclature on the front label must be OK.  However, by implication, I would expect a claret to be a blend of tradition Bordeaux grapes.  Are Syrah and Petite Sirah traditional Bordeaux... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Claret, other historical wine...


  • A lot more 'hermitage' (syrah) from the Rhone was dumped into CS ... ... ... overseas from eastern France. The Brits built the French wine industry, since Bordeaux, Aquitaine and surrounding areas were long part of its King's demesne and thus English merchants' bailiwicks. Send those barrels of clairette (and when the color was too pale or th... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Claret, other historical wine...


  • Chateau d'Oupia Minervois 2013

    Snoothrank:

    A very pleasant wine with some nice fruit, if not a lot of length. Berries, plum and a little spice. A good value, even at the $18 I spent in VA. Read More

    Wine review by Altboy97


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