Wine-producing towns in France are centres of indulgence, surging with cuisine, gastronomical festivals and culture. Next time you’re in France, visit any or all of these nine can’t-miss wine hubs. Better yet, consider purchasing property in one of these thriving areas!
1. Rhone Valley: Avignon and Chateauneuf-du-Pape
The lively university city of Avignon, located at the southern end of Cotes-du-Rhone and surrounded by medieval architecture, is the capital of the Vaucluse department. Every other March, the Palais des Papes holds the Découvertes en Vallée du Rhone tastings, which attracts scores of winemakers who are searching for new international buyers. Nearby Chateauneuf-du-Pape is known for producing robust red wines red wines, many of which share common attributes: fresh cherries, strawberries, black pepper, spices, earthiness and garrigue (the herbs found in the region). Wine here is known for being delicious when young, allowing many producers to skip the aging process.
Bordeaux is the best known, premiere wine destination in France and the region has long been associated with its surrounding vineyards. While Bordeaux used to be viewed as unapproachable by some, today even the most lavish estates happily welcome the public. The Chartrons district is home to Bordeaux’s most famous wine merchants and the nearby quays are where their wares used to be shipped. Today, this district is buzzing with street performers and commuters. Every other year, the Bordeaux Fete le Vin wine festival has over 80 appellations that line the Garonne.
Hilly St-Émilion, with slanted vineyards and steep medieval streets, has a diverse collection of growers who produce Bordeaux’s widest range of wines. St-Émilion’s sandy soil bears light wines with fruity characters; wines from limestone and clay area rich and deep. The area’s Merlot is lush and soft, with plum, blackberry, chocolate, black cherry and licorice flavors, while the Cabernet Franc is both flowery and spicy. Explore the area on your own by bike or visit the Office de Tourisme, which holds vineyard tours and wine-themed workshops.
Some refer to Cassis as the Saint-Tropez of French wine towns. Unlike the rest of Provence, Cassis specializes in mostly whites, which are made from Marsanne, Clairette, Sauvignon Blanc and Ugni Blanc grapes. While unexpected, the fact that Cassis produces mostly whites is serendipitous: the wines pair perfectly with seafood and Cassis used to be a fishing village – many of the area’s seagoing families now own local seafood restaurants.
Travelers have their choice of wine towns in the Middle Loire, but if you must pick just one, make it Chinon. Charming and revered for its excellence in winemaking, Chinon produces mainly reds from Sauvignon and Cabernets Franc grapes. You can, however, find Chinon whites, made from Chenin Blanc grapes (which are rare to find outside of the area), as well as rosés, in the town’s many restaurants and bars.
Collioure is located close to the Spanish border, at the southern part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, where life is unhurried and leisurely, and vineyards rise up around the striking blue sea. The region’s vineyards cover two overlapping appellations: Collioure, which produces red and white wines, and Banyuls-sur-Mer (named for the port to the south), which produces fortified red wines. Banyuls’ wines are frequently compared to port, with berry aromas and, common to the location, hints of garrigue herbs.
Charming Provence, set on the Mediterranean coast, produces a wide variety of wines. While the area is best known for its rosés, popular whites hail from Bandol and rich reds are made in the Var. Visits to Provence can include exploring Roman ruins, touring Vincent van Gogh sites and making your way through some of France’s most beautiful villages.
8. South West: Cahors and Bergerac
Inland and south of Bordeaux are a number of little known towns that yield exceptional wines. Cahors has extensive vineyards that turn out some of the country’s richest, darkest reds. The Malbec grape is primarily used there, producing what many call “purple wine.” Bergerac, noted for its white wines, also bears strong and sweet aperitifs, like Monbazillac.
So there you have it, eight of the best wine producing areas of France. If you are looking to invest in your own vineyard property in France then check out Home Hunts’ impressive portfolio of vineyards at www.home-hunts.com. To speak with one of Home Hunts’ consultants directly about your specific real estate requirements call +33 (0)970 44 66 43