Over the past centuries, France has been the most influential country in the wine world.  Currently, France has the world’s second-largest total vineyard surface behind Spain and competes with Italy for the position of having the world’s largest wine production. The earliest history of French wine goes back to the 6th century BCE, and many of France’s regions claim the start of their winemaking history all the way back to Roman times.France is the source of many grape varieties, including well known varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah as well as several lesser known varietals scattered amongst the different regions. The names of many French wine regions have become interchangeable with a reputation for fine quality, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. For this website, I have chosen to focus on the following regions:
Alsace – Bordeaux – Burgundy – Champagne – Languedoc/Roussillon – Loire Valley -Rhône

French wine plays an important role in both the French identity and it’s pride on the world stage. The combination of French wine and the equally influential French gastronomy have given rise to “Food-Tourism” throughout the country and has spilled over into other countrie due the increase in international competition within the wine industry. The greatest challenge to French domination was the 1976 Paris wine challenge, often referred to as the “Judgement of Paris”, in which several California wines won out in a blind wine tasting against some of France’s oldest and best regarded wines.Two central concepts to high-quality French wines that can help the wine tourist decide upon where to visit and what to drink once you get there, are the significance of terroir and the system of “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC).”  ”Terroir wines” reflect their place of origin, which are specified on labels of French wine, usually in terms of the wine’s appellation.  Appellation rules closely define which grape varieties and winemaking practices are allowed in each of France’s several hundred geographically defined appellations. These rules must be followed by all producers who wish to use an AOC designation for their wines. It has been said that in France, consumers buy wine based on the place of origin while in America, greater attention is placed on the grape. You will notice that most American wines will feature the grape varietals on the label, which is rare in France.

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