Forget Bordeaux — Here are France’s Best Wine Regions.

alsace wine

We want @vishnevskayairina’s wine rack

Winepocalypse. We’re pretty sure that’s the scariest “pocalypse” that could ever occur on this earth. It’s even worse than an apocalypse — because really what is the point of a planet without wine? But sadly enough, that seems to be what’s happening in some of France’s most famous winemaking regions.  Burgundy and Bordeaux two of the most well-known wine areas throughout the world, are going to be struggling to hit production levels this year.

And who can we thank for this impending doom, wait, we mean wine shortage? Global warming of course. While the Earth’s climate changes and weather becomes more unpredictable than Britney circa 2007, it’s our job to find wines from areas that aren’t being affected by climate change. And lucky for us wine enthusiasts, France is ridden with other fantastic winemaking regions that aren’t going anywhere any time soon! So may your glass be filled with the best grape juice around for years to come.

cheatau neuf view

We’d like to go on @michaelcarbone8’s picnic please & thank you!

The Story Behind the Label

Wine is something that we all know and love, but many of us actually don’t have a clue what we’re talking about when it comes to the stuff. So here’s a little background before we clue you into the best underrated wine regions in France. A lot of different winemaking regions have areas that are referred to as “AOC”, the technical name for this is Appellation d’Origine Controlee—very French we know. This label institutes certain standards a region must follow in order to preserve the historic integrity of what they’re producing. In this case, it’s wine (obvi), but the AOC label can also be applied to cheese, butter, and almost any other agricultural products.  As the French are very proud of their heritage, this is something that is considered super prestigious to have on your bottle label—it shows that what these wineries are selling is authentic and held to the highest standards. Lucky for us, our first underrated French region is AOC approved.

A Melting Pot of Wine

Alsace is basically the result of a huge tug-of-war game between Germany and France, which started as far back as 1870. Due to all of this back and forth, Alsace has become a melting pot of culture—which in turn creates some fabulously unique wine! There are three main areas where wine is produced here, Alsace AOC, Alsace Grand Cru AOC, and Cremant d’Alsace AOC. All of these regions provide us with amazing white wines—the most famous variety is Riesling. This kind of white wine is known to be very dry and to have a heavy emphasis on aromas. From florals, to spicy, to peachy—the scent is what defines these Alsatian Rieslings. Another cool, very french, aspect of Alsatian wines is that they must be bottled in tall bottles called “Flûte d’Alsace”. Leave it to the French to have a national law forcing all wines from this region to be sold in a specifically shaped bottle. C’est la vie we suppose.  A bottle you can’t go wrong with from Alsace is the René Muré 2014 Clos Saint Landelin Vorbourg Grand Cru Riesling—it has a 95 point rating, and is dry while simultaneously giving the fresh, juicy taste of red apple. Another suggestion with a lower points rating (88) but a much more reasonable price point ($18) is Famille Hauller 2015 Riesling. This bottle is perfect for a summer party because of its fresh and clean palate.

alsace vineyard

@le.voy.age captured a beautiful sunset over a beautiful vineyard

Castles, White Wine, & the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley, where castles are prime real estate and white wine runs freely and plentifully. The “Garden of France”, as it’s referred to, is one of the most picturesque places to visit in the countryand is home to some of the most underrated French wines. Like Alsace, the Loire Valley is divided into three different regions which are so creatively classified as Upper, Middle, and Lower. The Upper region is dominated by Sauvignon Blanc in the specific areas of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The Middle region is famous for Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc which are found in Touraine, Saumur, Chinon and Vouvray. Finally, the Lower region is definitely known for the Melon de Bourgogne grape, which makes white wines like Pinot Gris, Muscadet and Folle Blanche. The Sancerre region in the Upper Loire Valley is our personal fav—it’s famous for Sauvignon Blanc, a white wine that is either crisp and dry or rich and aromatic. The fancy “tasting notes” for this white are as follows: looks bright and is pale yellow, aromatic scent of citrus fruit, minerals, and grassiness, and a flavor profile of refreshingly dry with fresh fruit and mineral notes creating a trademark crisp acidity. We suggest trying a bottle of Domaine de Villargeau 2013 for its wonderfully light and dry citrus tones or Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2013 which is dry as well but holds more acidic tasting tones.


@sarahpierre1 shows how beautiful a valley can be

Second in Size—First in Our Hearts

The Côtes du Rhône is the second largest winemaking region in France, only preceded by Bordeaux. So say hellooo to some awesome new wine optionshere you should focus on reds like Grenache and Syrah. Specifically, Syrah has a great following in the Côtes du Rhône region. This wine is often filled with spicy aromas that only seem to get better with age, whereas the Grenache wines from this region have a lot of fruity and warm flavors with good body. The Côtes du Rhône is a hearty and wholesome region that is foolishly underrated due to it’s lack of “sparkle”. But let’s be real, if you find an amazing Côtes du Rhône you would seriously be questioning why on earth people don’t think it sparkles as much as a diamond. In order to get the true essence of this awesome hidden gem of a region, we suggest trying the Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2010—this bottle is a mix of the famous grapes within the Côtes du Rhône which allows you to enjoy all aspects of both the Syrah and Grenache flavors.

cote du rhone 2

Why put a glass in the air when you can use the whole bottle? Via @lizbsquared