Wine is made all over France, making it one of the largest producers in the world. The best wines are named after these regions, rather than by the variety of grape that is used. This is governed by the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine, which lays down the criteria that each wine must meet.
But what are the top wine regions in France? Here are five of the best:
The Champagne region produces the famous sparkling white wine of the same name. It is located just east of Paris - this proximity to the capital city means it has played a major role in the development of the wine industry in France down through the centuries.
The main grapes that are grown include chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. One of the most famous brands is Dom Pérignon which is named after the Benedictine monk of the same name who perfected the process of making sparkling wine in the 17th century.
Burgundy is in the east of France and is most famous for its red wines, made from pinot noir grapes. In fact it is home to some of the most valuable pinot noir grapes in the world. It is unique in that it is made up of many small vineyards all packed closely together, rather than the larger vineyards found in other parts of the country.
In Burgundy there are five main wine growing areas. These are Chablis, Côte d’Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâcon and Beaujolais.
Bordeaux is one of the most popular wine regions in Europe, producing big, bold and full-bodied wines. It is in southwestern France and it is the biggest producing wine region in the country, with over 120,000 hectares given over to vineyards.
Almost 90 percent of the wine produced here is red wine, and the most popular grape variety is cabernet sauvignon.
4. Loire Valley
As a wine making region, the Loire Valley does not have the same name-recognition of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. However wine has been made here since about the first century, and for much of its history its wines were regarded as better than any others produced in France.
The region is located in central France and the most common grapes are muscadet, cabernet franc and chenin blanc. It is the region that produces the greatest variety of French wines.
5. The Rhône Region
The Rhône wine making region is in southern France. It is split into two distinct sections - the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. The wines from both regions are very different. In the north you mostly get wines made from the syrah grape, while in the south you get wines of all varieties - red, white and rosé. They are usually made by blending different varieties of grape, although the grenache grape is popular.
The area is known for its wide spaces and spread out vineyards.
France has several other wine making regions that you can visit as well. This includes Alsace and Languedoc, both of which produce great wines. Other regions include Jura, Lorraine, Madiran, Provence and Savoie.