No wine producing country holds a greater sense of prestige than France. Home to the celebrated Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne regions, winemaking in France has set the benchmark for many other countries in Europe and around the world to follow. Although the best wines from the greatest regions are rightly regarded as some of the most prestigious produced on this earth, it is perhaps the scale and breadth of variety available to the consumer that makes France so special. Travelling north to south, from the marginal climate of Champagne, the sun-kissed region of the Languedoc and Roussillon, one has options for still and sparkling, white, red and rose, dry and sweet alike. Likewise, from the galet-strewn vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, to the mountainous valleys of the Savoie, the sheer variety of climates, topographies and geologies is simply stunning.
No one word can sum of the vinous world of France, but ‘terroir’ might be the closest to doing just that. The uniqueness of character that comes from the specific microcosmic interplay of geology, climate, grape variety and vigneron produce a wine that cannot be replicated anywhere else — although many will try. Burgundy, with its patchwork of vineyards stretching down the Côte d’Or, encapsulates this idea more neatly and thoroughly than many other wine producing regions on earth, where Pinot Noir in particular reaches its apotheosis. Terroir and the sense of uniqueness that accompanies it is not confined to the so-called classic regions. Indeed, the mountainous tracts of vineyard running along the foot of the Pyrenes, or even Savennières’ vineyards on the north bank of the Loire, are truly unique, carving out their own character from the plethora of expressions the landscape of France makes possible. Yes, there are other truly world-leading wine regions, but nobody does it quite like France.