French Wine Regions
France is one of the biggest producers of wine in the world, but if you talk to a vintner there, they’ll likely get excited about just a few hectares of vines. That’s because French wine is exceptionally focused on the idea of terroir. More than the climate and weather (though that’s part of it), terroir refers to everything about the soil, from its mineral content to the elevation of the slopes. This interest in terroir means that unlike, say, American wines, where you’ll see the grape variety listed, French wines are often identified with the place that they are produced, or the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée. The numerous AOCs fall within the broader wine-making regions of France, from the stately famous houses like Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Pétrus in Bordeaux to the trendy rosés of Provence and the famous bubbles in Champagne. If it sounds overwhelming, have no fear: F&W’s guide to French Wine covers it all, with guides to France’s winemaking regions, ideas for classic bottles to buy and tips on how to pair French wines with food.