The Major French Wine-growing Regions
France has a varied climate, which means that numerous types of grapes can be grown. Broadly speaking, there are two main sectors: Northern and Southern France.
In Northern France, the wines generally contain less alcoholic and a little more acidity due to the cooler climate. This is where the Champagne, Alsace, Vallée de la Loire, Bourgogne and Beaujolais appellations are found.
The best known white grape varieties are Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Chenin, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. For red wines, Pinot Noir is widely used, as are Gamay and Cabernet Franc.
Southern France enjoys a warmer climate with more sunshine. The wines have a slightly higher alcohol content and are less acidic, with more pronounced aromas and more powerful structures. The wine-growing regions are the Vallée du Rhône, Languedoc-Rousillon, Provence, Corsica, and the South-West. Due to its oceanic climate, the Bordeaux region produces fresher and more acidic wines compared to other wines from the South.
The best known white grape varieties are Roussanne and Marsanne, Viognier, Sémillon, Rolle and Manseng. For red wines, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carigan, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannac or Malbec are the most widespread.