French Wine Regions

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007 at 12:00 am

France vineyardFrench wine is one of the most experienced wine-producing regions of Europe. The regions that are located in the south were the ones which were licensed by the Roman empire to manufacture wines. St. Martin of Tours was always embarked in the tasks of spreading Christianity and planting vineyards which were made for the wine that they used for the celebration of the Eucharist.

During this particular time, the vineyards were primarily owned by the different monasteries which had ample security, resources and motivation to produce a stable production of wine. During this time, the most superior vineyards were controlled by the monasteries and the wine that these monasteries produced were considered to be the most distinguished type of wine in the land. The nobility was able to acquire large vineyards which made them owners of most of the wine regions of the country.

Notwithstanding some known exports that were accumulated from Bordeaux, until around 1850, most of the wine in France was drank by the local people where the wine was produced. Therefore the people who resided in Bordeaux drank Bordeaux wine. Those who were in Burgundy drank Burgundy and so on and so forth. This was the practice in the country. The different constructions of railroads as well as the advancements in the transportation industry greatly improved the export industry of wine throughout France.

Today, the French region is known for producing the most wine by value in the world. The Bourgogne, Champagne and Bourdeux variants of wine are considered to be important agricultural products of the country. Primarily, French law has divided their wine into four distinct categories, two of which are categorized under the European Union’s Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Region or QWPSR and the other two which are categorized under the European Union’s Table Wine.

The table wine types are "Vin de Table" which accompanies only the producer as well the designation that it is specifically from France. The other type of wine which is "Vin de Pays" is associated with in a specific region. One example of this may be "Vin de Pays d’Oc. The QWPSR, however, has Vin Délimité de Qualité Superieure (VDQS) which can be described as being less strict than AOC. Because of this, this is not often used. Lastly, there is the Appelation d’Origine Contrôlée or the AOC which is wine that hails from a certain territory with various restrictions which include grape varieties and winemaking approaches.

Essentially, wine is dependent on the terroir of the region. This is basically composed of things such as altitude, slope of hill, soil, orientation towards the sun as well as the microclimate. No two vineyards in the same area have the exact same terroir.

The different wine regions of France are Alsace, Beaujolais, Bergerac, Bordeaux which includes Medoc, Sauternes, Graves and Saint Emilion, Bourgogne or Burgundy which includes Chablis, Cote d’Or, Champagne, Jura, Loire Valley including Vouvray Muscadet and Sancerre, Languedoc-Roussillon area which includes Minervois, Corbières, Faugères and Cabardes.