France is one of the oldest and most prestigious wine producing regions in the world. France has historically been the standard of comparison in terms of quality leadership. Through increased competition and New World influences, France has taken strides, even in the classic wine regions, to raise the overall standard of wine. The typically old world style of French wines has seen recent influences, especially in the Midi region, from American and Australian "New World" styles towards mass-production causing
Due to the remarkable array of varied climates and soils, France is able to produce the most remarkable, distinctive variety of wines tailored to the conditions of each wine region. There are a whole range of French wines that may be almost unknown outside of their home country, or even province, but which offer fascinating and individual flavors.
Traditionally, France has been the largest consumer of its own wines making exports minimal. During the 1990s however, per capita consumption dropped nearly 20 percent allowing French producers to rely on foreign export markets. New World producers in France tailor their products to the export market making it easy to fit with international bottling regulations. However, Old World wine producers experience difficulties since classification practices in France allow for labeling by region rather than variety - unaccepted in many international markets.
Important wine regions include Champagne, Alsace Loire, Valley, Burgundy, Jura, Savoie, Bordeaux, Rhone, Midi, Provence, and Corsica. Bordeaux is arguably the most famous wine-producing region in France and in the world. Burgundy, lying approximately between Dijon and Macon, is one of the oldest in France, producing wines for more than 2,000 years. Champagne is the birthplace for luxury and their wines are a symbol of celebration in every country.
France is capable of producing the widest variety of grapes compared to almost any other country depending on the region's conditions. Bordeaux is known for producing the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. On the other hand, Burgundy is most recognized for its production of Pinot Noir and its white counterpart Chardonnay, which qualities are difficult to duplicate. Champagne, for instance, produces a combination of three grape varieties Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier blended and specially sealed under pressure to create bubbles when the pressure is released.
|Geographic Coordinates:||46° 00’ N, 2° 00’ E|
|Population (2006 est.):||60,876,136|
|Per Capita GPD (2005 est.):||$29,900|
|Bordering Countries:||Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland|
|Total Wine Consumption (2001):||33,916,000 hectoliters|
|Per Capita Wine Consumption (2001):||57.17 liters per capita|
|Total Wine Production (2001):||53,389,000 hectoliters|
|Total Vineyard Acreage (2001):||2,258,000 acres|
|Indigenous Grape Varieties:||Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec|
|Cheers in French:||Sante!|