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Wine Country: France

Over the years France has managed to bask in the reputation of one of the largest wine industries in the world, equaling Italy and Spain. For those who know how to choose, and know something about wines, France still offers some of the greatest wines, with the greatest variety.

The varied growing-regions, a rich wine-making history and a passionate vineyard heritage all allow for French wines continue to set an uncompromising, gold standard in the world of wine.

One of the most important wine producing regions within France is Bordeaux. This region contributes massively to the French wine industry.

In fact, Bordeaux wines are internationally known for their quality. Over 80% of the wine produced in Bordeaux is red, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. So it is no wonder that the region is known as the red wine hound of wine.

The two prevailing red wine-producing sub regions of Bordeaux are aptly referred to as "Left Bank" and "Right Bank” which include 12,000 winegrowers and with 50 diverse growing appellations. The big difference between the two banks is that Left Bank has soils with higher gravel content that favour especially Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The wines from the Left Bank usually require more time to mature and will age for years. The soil on the Right Bank contains higher levels of clay which prefers Merlot grapes, with their early-ripening characteristics. This soil delivers wines that are better suited for beginning Bordeaux wine drinkers, because of their low tannin level, more fruit-forward flavour, they are inviting and suitable for every kind of budgets. 

Another wine region that is well known is Burgundy. Its reputation is based on its legacy of both its red Burgundy wines like Pinot Noir and white Burgundy wines such as Chardonnay. Located at the eastern side of France and covers just over 100 miles, this region grows Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay. The warm summers and cold winters allow the high-maintenance Pinot Noir grape to grow particularly well. White Burgundy is a Chardonnay Lover's delight, with flavours of peaches and honey, crisp acidity and complex flavours that pair particularly well with seafood.

The Rhone Valley lies in southeastern France. This region provides a distinct growing condition which produces some of France's best bargain red wines. The primarily grown grapes are Grenache, Syrah and Viognier. Grenache grapes flourish in the sizzling southern part of Rhone while the northern part of Rhone specializes in Syrah grapes.

As opposed to the other wine regions, Alsace names its wines by grape varietal instead of by origin. Alsace is mostly a white wines producing region with Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling as its most noteworthy wines. Its Gewurztraminer has remarkable flavors, low acidity, high alcohol content all wrapped in a zesty blend of aromatic spice. The Alsace Pinot Blanc is light-bodied while the Pinot Gris has a fuller-body and reveals a rich flavor profile. The traditional Alsace Riesling is a dry, white wine with characteristic mineral nuances.

Resting on the northwest side of France, The Loire Valley is mostly known for its white wines such as Sancerre, Vouvray, Pouilly-Fume and Muscadet. The wines from the Loire Valley come in a vast array of styles, from dry to sweet and from predominately white to sparkling. They are often crafted in a lighter style due to the region's cooler climate. The Pouilly-Fume from this region is the most concentrated regional wine bringing a fuller bodied white made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The Sancerre is typically medium-bodied and also made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Named after the region, Muscadet gives a lighter styled white wine made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape while the Vouvray is produced from the Chenin Blanc grape.

And then there is Provence, this beautiful wine-growing region is mostly known for its rose wines. Stretching from Arles to Nice, Provence has beautiful seaside tourist attractions and idyllic landscapes surrounded by sun-drenched vineyards. Although it is known as a top rosé producer, their lesser known whites and reds are gradually gaining popularity. With new appellations and wines that cannot be found outside the region itself, there are still many great finds in Provence. In this sun-drenched, dry region, grapes are one of the only crops that can be grown.