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Gastronomy 101: French Wine

Engorge yourself on our Gastronomy 101 series and discover the most delectable, most fragrant and most mouthwatering treats that Europe has to offer. Read about some delicious French wines below...

Whether you are an accomplished wine critic or brand new to the world of le vin, France has something for every palette - from red to white to bubbles!

France is the second largest producer of wine in the world (after Italy) and is home to some of the most important and well-known wineries in the world. There is a strict appellation system when it comes to classifying wines - for example, only sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region can be called champagne. And there's a lot more to learn beside that - the effect of the terroir (land and soil), the weather, the fermentation process, to name just a few.

The best way to make the most out of French wine is therefore when you have a bit of an understanding of the production and history... and the perfect way  to do that is on one of our many tours, itineraries or packages. Here are a few below.

Wine Regions of France

Champagne

Champagne is a great region to start your French wine exploration. With manicured rolling hills, this region is famous for the bubbly white of the same name and home to some of the world's most famous wine producers. For a full Champagne experience, try our independent Champagne Superstay itinerary over four days from Reims. Reims is a gorgeous city with art deco cafes and a beautiful cathedral, where French kings were crowned for more than 1,000 years. On this itinerary, enjoy tastings at Veuve Cliquot, Mumm, Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon and  and a visit to the Grandes Maisons de Champagne. For more solid sustenance, local specialties feature and we can happily organise a booking for you at one of Reims Michelin-starred restaurants.

We also offer three Champagne day trips that can be incorporated into a wider tour of France or the region.

Burgundy

Burgundy is a hotspot for all things food and wine - in fact, the vineyards are so culturally important, that they have been recognised with UNESCO World Heritage status. Over the centuries, the combination of continued viticulture of the area with the unique terroir has enabled local producers to truly perfect the art of wine making. On the Burgundy Superstay independent itinerary, you will stay in medieval Beaune  and enjoy a number of day trips to les grandes caves (important wine cellars) of the area, where you will meet with vignerons, sample wines and taste delicious local produce.

We also offer two Burgundy wine tour day trips in small groups, but they may also be taken privately.

Bordeaux

Famous for its rich neo-classical architecture and equally rich Medoc red wines, Bordeaux is a wonderful city for a short break or as a base to explore the wine region of the same name. Our Taste of Bordeaux independent itinerary gives you not only the chance to take in the charming old city, but to explore the surrounding wine region with tastings at five different estates throughout the region, over four days.

There are also a number of day trips offered in Bordeaux taking you to various wineries in the region and giving you the chance to sample more local food. The macarons of Saint-Emilion on the Wines of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol Tour are a personal favourite!

Provence 

There are a number of day tours in Provence taking in local food and wine experiences. These include an Olive and Wine in Les Baux de Provence tour with tastings of both in that medieval village at the foot of the Alpilles range, or the Cassis, Calanques and Bandol tour featuring a guided tour, wine tasting and delicious local lunch.

Gastronomic Cruising

For something completely different, Discover the Great Bordeaux Wines  on a river cruise over six days from Bordeaux. Alternatively, cruise your way from Champagne to Paris over a week, enjoying wine tastings along the way.

River cruising in France is a wonderful way to see the country, tracing important trade routes and stopping at many picturesque villages along the way. The vessels have outstanding facilities, daily buffet breakfasts, three course meals for lunch and dinner and comfortable air-conditioned cabins. Many of the highlighted day trips above can be incorporated when you alight in either region.

Keep an eye out for our next installment of this series on delectable French Food.


If you are interested in any of these wine adventures or want to craft your very own tailor-made gastronomical tour of France, contact one of our agents today. After all, that Chablis isn't going to drink itself - so wine not?!