French white wines are some of the most elegant and exquisite in the wine world. However, they can be very different in style and production. Let’s try to figure out where the French white wines are produced. What are their features in each of the regions? How are they geographically determined? I want to clarify that in this post I want to talk about dry white wines. A post about sweet wines will be released a bit later. I also draw attention to the fact that this is a very basic material that gives you an idea of the general features of the geography and style of French white wines. Nevertheless, you must remember that each rule has exceptions, and each region has its own characteristics.
How to choose French white wines?
One of the main characteristics of white wines is acidity. You need to know that France’s most acidic white wines come from the north. Closer to the south, the acidity of the wine decreases, but the level of alcohol increases. By the way, alcohol smoothes acidity and wine is perceived sweeter, rounded, less sharply. In the south there is more sun, grapes ripen better, they contain more sugar. The sugar turns into the alcohol in the process of fermentation . Check out the post about white wine production. Is it good or bad? It depends. First of all, the wine must be balanced. And for white wine, the main quality criteria is precisely the balance between acidity and alcohol/sweetness. But this is true if we evaluate the quality of the wine professionally. If we choose wine for ourselves, then the one you like is the best.
Therefore, we are trying to deal with the regions and their features. So choosing French white wines in a store or restaurant, you know what you will like and what you don’t. While choosing French white wines, knowledge of the wine regions plays a very important role. Indeed, on the label or in the wine list you will see the name of the region and the producer. No grape variety or the style of wine. So let’s understand the geography of French white wines to be able to choose the one you love among those thousand labels.
Wine regions of France with high acidity wines:
- Loire Valley
- Burgundy (Bourgogne)
The wine regions of France with less pronounced acidity and higher alcohol content:
- Rhone Valley
- Languedoc and Roussillon
- Southwest (Sud-Ouest)
- Corsica (Corse)
Wine regions of France at 45 parallel:
The 45th parallel is considered significant in viticulture. It is believed that the wine regions that lie along the 45 ° produce the most balanced and high-quality wines in the world. This is a kind of border between the wine regions with hot and cold climates. In France, this is primarily:
- Northern part of the Rhone Valley
Do not forget that the acidity of the wine grows not only to the north, but also with the altitude. So southern vineyards with a certain altitude above the sea level will produce more acidic wines than their neighbors at the sea level. Limoux is a small wine region in the south of France near the Spanish border. It produces still white wines and even some of sparkling wines with high acidity. Which is due to the altitude of the vineyards at the foot of the Pyrenees.
The wine regions of France are often quite extensive or elongated. So wines will differ within the same region. For example, Burgundy, stretched from north to south. The northern subregions of Burgundy are represented by highly acidic white wines, such as Chablis. But an appellation like Puilly-Fuisse in the south is known for its slightly less acidic and more alcoholic wines.