As one of the world’s largest producers of wine, France is home to many black, green and red grape varieties commonly used in red and white wines. There are many regions in the country that grow the grapes needed in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Sauvignon Blanc wines. To enjoy the vineyards in France during the best time of year, the team at GlobalEntryServices.org recommends visiting between the mid-March and the end of July.
Bordeaux has over 120,000 hectares of vineyard area with the majority of winemakers producing red vintages, chiefly Merlot. The Château Pape-Clément is the oldest vineyard in Bordeaux, having had its first harvest in 1252. Famous composer of rare wines, Bernard Magrez, presently owns the vineyard. The beautiful estate offers wine tastings, tours and nightly accommodations as well as a participative winemaking workshop that allows visitors to mix and assemble their own bottles. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org recommends making an appointment if planning to visit during peak harvest season in June.
Vignerons and winemakers in Burgundy focus on terroir, the environmental factors that influence a crop’s phenotype. Geographically focused, wine classification in Burgundy specifies the region or vineyard rather than the vintner as they do in Bordeaux. The best vineyards in region are located in the Côte d’Or. The largest of the vineyards is Les Clos, which specializes in the white wine Chablis Grand Cru by only planting the Chardonnay grape variety. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org suggests this vineyard for wine connoisseurs with a palate for complex flavors.
According to EU law, sparkling wine from only this region can bear the name Champagne. Only 160 km east of Paris, Champagne wines were often the drinks of the royal family and particularly a favorite of King Louis XIV. The small town of Epernay is the known as the Champagne capital and is home to the Champagne Houses and Moët et Chandon. Mercier Champagne vineyard permits visitors into the cellars for a tour by small train. Guests can also enjoy lunch, dinner or drinks in the gorgeous carved stone room.
The southernmost region of France has the most dedicated vineyard land and produces more than a third of the country’s wine. Home to traditional Rhôde grapes like Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Viognier, the area generates many red and rosé wines. Domaine La Croix Belle, a family owned and operated vineyard, is one of the largest estates in the Côtes de Thongue. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org recommends this vineyard for travelers in a big group with diverse tastes, as Domaine La Croix Belle offers a wide and diverse selection.
If you a white wine drinker, the team at GlobalEntryServices.org suggests venturing to the Loire Valley wine region, which primarily grows Chenin blanc and Sauvignon blanc grapes. The Château du Petit Thouars is an award-winning vineyard that hosts wine tastings and tours, including a one-hour boat trip along the river. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic amongst the vines following a tour of the cellar and a wine tasting.