The French Wine Regions You Haven’t Heard Of
As borders continue to open around the world and we move towards life as it once was, luxury travel is back on the agenda and booming again. This week we are taking a look at some of France’s most impeccable wineries and wine regions, some of which you’ve probably never heard of.
France is a country with so much to offer. The sunny climates of the picturesque south, the famous and revered cuisine throughout the country, the awe-inspiring Alps that provide so much in both summer and winter months, the rugged regions of Brittany and Normandy and a capital city bursting with culture, romance and historic relevance, for example.
Nestled in amongst these attractions sits France’s wine industry. With a proud tradition and heritage, French winemaking is viewed in the highest regard all around the globe and wine tourism in France generates approximately 5.2 billion euros a year. Pre-pandemic, the country brought in around 10 million wine tourists a year, many of whom coming from overseas.
Despite these staggering figures and France’s pride in its winemaking, it wasn’t always the case that the local industry was made available for visitors to experience first-hand. In fact, of France’s 85,000 plus wineries, just over 10% were open to the public five years ago. However, this is changing drastically as more and more vineyards see the economic benefit of opening their cellar doors, providing tours and putting on tasting sessions for tourists.
With this change in attitude, more aligned with the open-door policies seen in other parts of the world, comes the start of an unbelievable opportunity to visit some of the wine areas and wineries that were previously too “off-the-beaten-track” to explore.
Areas synonymous with wine production, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, continue to be a huge draw for wine tourists, but now we’re seeing the emergence of other regions. In the east of France is Jura, for example, which is one of the smallest wine regions in the country. A cool climate wine region, made up of pretty villages, leads to the production of distinctive and unusual wines, the most prestigious of which is its vin jaune, yellow wine.
If you travel 145km southwest, you’ll find Beaujolais, just north of France’s capital of gastronomy, Lyon. Beaujolais, known locally as the “Tuscany of France”, produces relatively easy-drinking and vibrant wines and it can be argued that nowhere in the world offers better value for money when it comes to wine.
We finish our tour of the lesser-known French wine regions in the southwest of the country, near the Spanish border. Jurancon sits in the foothills of the Pyrenees and benefits from a warm and calm wind and climate that helps produce exceptionally sweet wine. Sitting slightly closer to the border is Irouleguy, a wine region that sits deep into Basque country and has been producing wine since at least the third century.
If you’d like to explore any of these wine regions, perhaps tying in a stay in some of France’s typical and luxurious chateaus, please get in touch. We can organise any travel or accommodation requirements you have, in a completely bespoke manner.