France is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world, and is known for popular varietals such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne. According to the Wine Institute, France grows approximately 11 percent of the world’s grapes (totaling two million acres) and supplies more than 17 percent of the global wine supply.
Most Popular Types of French Wine
Before we get into some of the various types of French wine, it’s good to know that in France, wines are named for the region or subregion where grapes are grown, not by the varietal. Also, French law makes the rules when it comes to which grapes can be blended within an appellation designation. Now let’s get to the bottles!
- Bordeaux: This well-known region is known for its Cabernet, Sauvignon, and Merlot blends. Known for being quite tannic with bold flavors, you’ll often find hints of dark fruits and chocolate. On the lighter side, White Bordeaux wines are typically made with Sauvignon Blanc or Sémillon grapes. You can also find rich dessert wines from this region, like Sauternes and Barsac.
- Burgundy: If you’re a Pinot Noir lover, Burgundy is your region. Most wines from this area are deep purple in color, and offer flavors like plum, other dark fruits, tobacco, and a general earthiness. There are 21 appellations in total, and the region also produces acidic Chablis (from Chardonnay grapes) and fruity Beaujolais Nouveau (from Gamay grapes).
- Champagne: If it doesn’t hail from the Champagne region, it’s not technically Champagne (and legally can’t be labeled that way). The traditional wine-making method creates both blends and single varietal wines, usually from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
- Rhône: The Rhône River Valley produces wines that tend to be on the spicy side, with notes of smoke and rich fruit flavors.
- Loire: This wine region also runs along a river, and is known for its white wines such as Sancerre, Anjou-Saumur, and Muscadet.
Top French Wineries
Our master sommelier has tasted his way through the best French wineries.
Marquis de Talandier
Near Bordeaux, this small 19-acre winery has been crafting organic wines for the past two decades. Not surprisingly, what began as a weekend project for winemaker Lionel Lorente eventually turned into a full-time passion.
This winery is nestled in the heart of France’s Côtes du Rhône region and covers almost 100 acres. Domaine Valand started in 1986 when winemakers Marie-Christine Andrieu and Pascal Valadier (who only owned 14 acres at the time) began experimenting with organically grown grapes.
Domaine de Roquemale
In the local dialect, roquemale means “bad rock.” This is precisely the place where Valérie and Dominique Ibanez started growing organic grapes. Eventually, they became known for small productions and unique bottles.
Best French Wine
For the best French wine picks, look no further than ThriveMarket.com.
Marquis de Talandier Côtes de Bourg 2016
This bottle of Côtes de Bourg has strong tannins, plus aromas of oak, black currant, and blackberry. Red meats and fatty dishes make a great pairing here.
Domaine Valand Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages 2018
Try a bold Côtes du Rhône that blends Syrah and Grenache, yielding flavors of briny black olives and dark fruit. The grapes were grown on 40-year-old vines, then fermented for almost a month before bottling.
Tips for Cooking With Wine
Wine can be an essential ingredient in the kitchen—and it’s not just for sipping while you cook! Here are some of our favorite wine-inspired recipes.
Leftover Wine Recipes
For the days when you don’t finish a bottle but there’s not enough left to pour everyone another glass, turn to these wine-friendly recipes. We’re whipping up brownies, steaming a red wine-infused latte, and baking a white wine fromage fort.
Easy Drunken Pasta Recipe
Grab your favorite bottle of red and watch it transform a simple bowl of spaghetti! This recipe uses plenty of garlic, EVOO, Pecorino cheese, and crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick.
Red and White Wine Differences
Do you know what separates red wine from white wine? Our guide gets into all the nuances, from the benefits of drinking wine to how your favorite bottles are made.