France is a wonderful country for a touring holiday. The roads are good and generally uncrowded, the scenery is beautiful and varied, and best of all, you can find and sample delicious wines as you travel. It’s a big country, too big to take in all at one go perhaps; but it’s possible to have a great introduction by touring just one or two wine-producing areas. If you travel by car, you will probably want to purchase or bring back a case or two, or alternatively, you can make choices for later wine delivery UK. Here are a few good ideas for a wine-tasting holiday…
Known as Burgundy in the English-speaking world, this region in eastern France produces some of the world’s most sought-after wines. As well as the fabulously-expensive wines from the Côte d’Or escarpment, you can find excellent cheaper examples of the Pinot Noir reds for which the region is famous. Beaune is a pretty town with plenty of good hotels and restaurants and makes a great base for a holiday. A map of the vineyards shows how some of the most prized parcels of land can be just a few yards wide, so this is a fascinating area to walk in.
The Loire Valley
A trip along the River Loire can combine visits to legendary castles, such as the Château de Chambord, with exploration of the vineyards where some of France’s best white wines are made. This is France’s longest river, and the wines change with the scenery. A dry Muscadet, produced near the Atlantic coast, is the perfect partner for a plate of seafood – a holiday experience waiting to happen! Further inland, Sancerre is a charming village producing the Sauvignon Blanc wines that are described as having a ‘flinty’ taste.
Like Burgundy, the Bordeaux region and its claret wine have a long association with Britain. Bordeaux itself is good for a city break, with elegant streets, a wonderful river frontage, and plenty to see and do. Bordeaux vineyards, including some of the biggest Châteaux, often have organised tours, on which you can marvel at the world’s most pampered grapes. Bordeaux red wines feature the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, and it is possible to find some good examples of rich, fruity wines at a reasonable price; try wine cooperatives.
Down the river from Bourgogne, the Rhône flows through famous towns including Avignon, an ancient and beautiful city with a famous bridge and the old palace of the papacy, which was once based here. Châteauneuf–du-Pape is a famous red wine produced from traditional grape varieties growing in the stony Rhône soil.
The most northerly French wine-producing area is also perhaps the most famous. Champagne has been producing its legendary sparkling wine since the seventeenth century. Reims and Épernay are good places to start a tour through some of the typical villages of the region. Tourism is well-organized here, and several of the big producers offer cellar visits, which naturally end with a tasting.