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Wine regions in France 43 growing regions
Description to France
France is a relatively young wine-growing country compared to Greece and Italy. The first vines were brought in the 6th century BC by the Greeks, who founded Massalia (Latin Massillia = Marseille) in the southwest on the Mediterranean coast. At this time, the land, which was only later called Gaul by the Romans, was inhabited by various tribes of Celts (Allobrogians, Ambians, Arvernians, Biturians, Cenomans and others in France, Noricans in Bavaria and Austria). A lively trade developed and the Greeks covered the demand. When the Greeks migrated to the Po Valley in the 5th century, they got to know Italian wine and began to import it. The later French had been consuming wine for a long time before they began to cultivate it themselves on a large scale. The conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) led to systematic distribution. This took place in the 1st century in the Rhône valley, in the 2nd century in Burgundy and Bordeaux and in the 3rd century on the Loire. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus (232-282) lifted the ban of Emperor Domitian (51-96) and ordered the planting of vines throughout Gaul in the middle of the 3rd century.
The King of the Franks and later Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) gave decisive impetus to viticulture in what is now France through his decrees. In the monastery of Cîteaux in Burgundy, the Catholic order of the Cistercians was founded in 1098 and quickly spread throughout Europe. The monks perfected viticulture in terms of soil type selection, grape variety selection and winemaking, which had an impact throughout Europe. But the Benedictine order, whose most famous member was probably Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715), the "inventor" of assemblage, the artful blending of wines, was equally important for viticulture. It is also worth mentioning that wine was taken into account in the French revolutionary calendar, September was given the name Vendèmiaire (Wine Month).
In 1855, the famous Bordeaux classification took place. This had a great influence on the later quality class systems, which vary greatly from region to region. Shortly afterwards, the country was the starting point of the greatest and most comprehensive disaster in the history of viticulture, when phylloxera and powdery and downy mildew began their campaign of destruction across Europe from the 1860s onwards. France was particularly hard hit, with over three-fifths (700,000 hectares) of its vineyards destroyed. At the same time, however, the "Golden Years of Bordeaux" signalled a new beginning when vineyards were planted on a large scale in the Médoc.
In France, it was recognised at an early stage that a wine with unmistakable characteristics is produced on a specific soil, under the influence of the local microclimate, as well as specially selected grape varieties. The Cistercians laid the foundations as early as the Middle Ages. In the first third of the 20th century, the term terroir was coined. In the 1920s, the vineyard owner Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (1890-1967) described the ideal grape varieties for Châteauneuf-du-Pape on the basis of the soil and climate typical there in an area he defined. Further impulses were given by Joseph Capus (1868-1947), who, together with Boiseaumarié, is considered the initiator of the appellation system.
France was the first country to record its wine-growing areas geographically. This was done by defining legally valid areas and boundaries from which the specific quality of a wine can be clearly derived. This is unambiguous and unmistakable through the appellation in question. The better a wine, the more precise the regulations and, as a rule, the smaller the area. The special system of "controlled origin" is described under Appellation d'Origine Protégée; it is controlled by the INAO authority. The country is administratively divided into 101 (96 in Europe) départements. The wine-growing areas are spread fairly evenly over three quarters of the surface. Under the protection and supervision of the INAO, there are about 400 AOP areas (quality wines) and about 100 IGP areas (country wines). Unlike Italy (where this is 100% identical), there is little correspondence between wine-growing regions and political boundaries:
|Armagnac||Gers, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne||Also||12.000|
|Burgundy||Côte d'Or, Saône-et-Loire, Nièvre, Sâone-et-Loire||Dijon||40.000|
|Champagne||Ardennes, Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne||Épernay, Reims||34.000|
|Languedoc||Ardèche, Ariège, Aveyron, Haute-Loire, Gard, Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées, Hérault, Lot, Lòzere, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Orientales||Montpellier, Toulouse||201.000|
|Loire||Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe, Vendée||Angers, Nantes, Saumur||70.000|
|Lorraine||Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges||Metz||125|
|Provence||Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var, Vaucluse,
|Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Marseille, Nice||25.000|
|Rhône||Ain, Ardèche, Drôme, Isère, Loire, Rhône, Savoie, Haute-Savoie||Lyon, Montélimar||80.000|
|Southwest France||Arriège, Aude, Aveyron, Cantal, Charente, Charente-Maritim, Dordogne, Gers, Gironde, Hautes-Pyrénées, Landes, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne,
|Angoulême, Carcassonne, Montauban||160.000|
Grape varieties and vineyards
With regard to grape varieties, different philosophies or styles prevail. In the south and south-west, especially in Bordeaux, red wines in particular are blended from several varieties; these are the classic cuvées, for which there is the term Bordeaux blend. In the more northerly regions, however, such as Chablis, Alsace, Loire, Savoy and above all Burgundy, the wines are usually made from a single grape variety. In Burgundy in particular, the site system and the associated classification system are particularly pronounced. Within the framework of EU grubbing-up programmes, around 180,000 hectares of vineyards were cleared between 1988 and 2010. Languedoc-Roussillon was particularly affected by this.
There are almost 70,000 winegrowing enterprises with an average of nine hectares of vineyards. Around 45% process the grapes themselves and produce 55% of the output, the rest is supplied to winegrowers' cooperatives. The production consists of 45% red wines, 43% white wines (most of which are made into brandy) and 12% rosé wines. Around 62% are AOP wines, 18% IGP wines and 20% Vin de France. In 2014, the total vineyard area was 789,000 hectares, of which 46.5 million hectolitres of wine were produced. This puts France among the world leaders with Spain and Italy (see also under wine production volumes). The grape variety table in 2016 with the top 50 (statistics Kym Anderson):
|Grape variety||Colour||Synonyms or French name||Hectare|
|Trebbiano Toscano||white||Ugni Blanc||78.842|
|Garnacha Tinta||red||Grenache Noir||78.631|
|Melon de Bourgogne||white||Melon||9.550|
|Muscat Blanc / Muscat||white||-||7.333|
|Cot||red||Côt, Malbec, Pressac||6.100|
|Garnacha Blanca||white||Grenache Blanc||5.130|
|Gewürztraminer / Traminer||white||Gentil Rose Aromatique, Savagnin Blanc||3.320|
|Alicante Henri Bouschet||red||Alicante Bouschet||2.607|
|Clairette||white||Blanquette, Clairet, Clairette Blanche||2.042|
|Roussanne||white||Petite Roussette, Roussanne Blanc||1.831|
|Piquepoul Blanc||white||Picboul, Picpoul de Pinet||1.564|
|Mauzac Blanc||white||Mauzac, Mausac||1.526|
|Marsanne||white||Marsanne Blanche, Roussette Grosse||1.484|
|Garnacha Roja||white||Grenache Gris||1.253|
|Petit Manseng||white||Manseng Blanc,||1.247|
|Pinot Blanc||white||Auvernat Blanc||1.181|
Wine categories / quality levels
In August 2009, the EU wine market regulation came into force with fundamental changes to the wine designations and quality levels. The designation AOC may continue to be used as an alternative. The three quality levels are (see also in detail under Quality System):
- Vin de France (formerly Vin de table or table wine) = wine
- IGP (formerly Vin de pays) = country wine
- AOP (formerly AOC or AC) = quality wine
Vin de France (Vins sans Indication Géographique)
Wines without geographical indication. It replaced the former designation Vin de table. For this, grape varieties from all over France are permitted. There are wines without and with indication of grape varieties and/or vintage. The INAO is not responsible, as is the case with quality wines and country wines, but the Anivin de France association.
IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée)
Wines with a protected geographical indication. Replaced the former designation Vin de pays. The wines are subject to less strict production guidelines. Although recommended grape varieties and maximum yields are defined, there is more freedom than with AOP. Grape varieties other than those recommended can also be used. A hierarchical distinction is made according to size or scope into IGP régionales, IGP départementales and IGP de petites zones. The six largest regional IGP areas are Atlantique, Comté Tolosan, Comtés Rhodaniens, Méditerranée, Pays d'Oc and Val de Loire.
VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure)
This level was created in 1949 as a preliminary stage for the AOC rank. The production guidelines now had to be prepared according to AOP standards and the link to the terroir had to be proven. These wines were thus upgraded to AOP.
AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protégée) or
AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
The new top of the quality pyramid. Compared to the old AOC, controls by independent bodies have been strengthened. There are three levels: AOP Cru (wines from a vineyard, site or parcel), AOP communal (wines from a commune) and AOP regional (wines from a region). See in detail under Appellation d'Origine Protégée.
Special classification systems
In addition to the EU-compliant quality levels, there are sometimes confusing classification systems in France that vary from region to region. These are the Bordeaux classification for Médoc and Sauternes dating from 1855, the Burgundy classification, and the Graves and Saint-Émilion classifications, which are carried out at regular intervals. See a complete list under Grand Cru.
Institutions and bodies
Influential French wine writers and critics are or were Michel Bettane, Guy Bonnefoit, Pierre Brejoux, Thierry Desseauve, Patrick Dussert-Gerber, Odette Kahn, Alexis Lichine, Émile Peynaud, Olivier Poussier, André Simon and Christian Vanneque. The most important wine magazines or wine guides include the four works Guide des Vins, Hachette, Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France and Le Grand Guide des Vins.
In addition to national ones, there are also some important international viticultural institutions with headquarters in France for research and development, standards and norms, and professional associations. These are CPVO (Community Plant Variety Office), FIJEV (Federation Internationale des Journalistes et Ecrivains des Vins et Spiritueux), IFV (Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin), INAO (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine), INRAE (Institut national de recherche pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement), ISVV (Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin), OIV (Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin) and UPOV (Union internationale pour la Protection des Obtentions Végétales).
Probus: History Vienna WIKI
Charlemagne: From Albrecht Dürer - Public domain, Link
France: From French vineyards, France blank
Eric Gaba( Sting- fr:Sting) derivative work: Sdaubert (talk)
derivative work: Furfur (talk), CC BY-SA 2.5, link
Bordeaux: By Domenico-de-ga, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Classified wine producers in France 553
Find+Buy for France 123
Recent wines 6845
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