... or the country of great wines! One cannot talk about wine without talking about France, the country that is home to all these mythical regions, from Bordeaux to Burgundy, from the Loire Valley to Champagne, from Côtes du Rhône to Alsace. So many names that make sommeliers, wine merchants, tasters and wine lovers dream all over the world. France is the world's second largest wine producer, after Italy but ahead of Spain, with nearly 76,000 winegrowers covering more than 750,000 hectares in 66 departments. The most widely planted grape varieties are Merlot, Syrah and Grenache for the reds, and Chardonnay and Ugni Blanc for the whites. France is an avant-garde country in many respects, and it is notably in France that the first Appellations d'Origine Contrôlées, or AOCs, were born. It is also to France that we owe the Champenoise method, the sweet wines of Sauternes, the mastery of barrel ageing and the recognition of climates and terroirs.
Mythical names in traditional viticulture have made the country's reputation far beyond its borders, and among the pioneers of organic viticulture and natural winemaking are Marcel Lapierre in Morgon, Pierre Overnoy in Arbois, Nicolas Joly and his Coulée de Serrant in the Loire. Let's push the boundaries and leave the beaten track, discover the winemakers of Auvergne and their volcanic soil, from Vincent Marie to Patrick Bouju, the marvels of Alsace grape varieties with Jean-Pierre Rietsch or Christophe Lindenlaub and the magic of Chenin Blanc with Thomas Batardière in Loire.