What You Need To Know About Terroir in France

France is famous for a number of things - amazing food, the Eiffel tower, beautiful women, and of course, some of the best wines in the world.

French wine is produced in several regions throughout France, on vineyards covering more than 2 million acres. In a typical year, seven to eight billion bottles of wine are produced in France, making it Italy's strongest competitor for recognition as the world's largest wine producer.

Conditions Contributing To the Taste of Wine.

Grapes are grown in France, and at any vineyard are grown under a very specific set of conditions. This is called terroir in France.

French wines are famous for their terroir. Terroir is the combined influence of vineyard aspect (how a vineyard faces the sun, its exposure or shelter from wind and weather, and its physical location on a hillside or in a valley),

Below are the factors affecting the taste of the wine

  • Variety of Grape

  • Its soil (sandy, rocky, fertile, rich, etc.)

  • The specific weather conditions during the growing season (heat, rain, hail, or damaging frost)

  • And the myriad decisions made by experienced vineyard managers and winemakers.

These are conditions that all wines share to a degree, merely by the fact that they are wines. It is undeniable that different wines taste distinctly different. you cannot deny that the same wine tasted twice, or from two different bottles, can exhibit distinct differences.

Some wines, from some places, are consistently extraordinary while others are average. It can certainly be argued that wines from very similar locations have a regional resemblance and that different wines made by the same winemaker share a certain family resemblance. But is this because of some mystical thing called terroir?

In one sense this is obvious because a wine grape is nothing more than an agricultural product. It grows on a vine in the ground and is subject to the conditions of the soil and the prevailing weather during its ripening. It makes sense that the grapevine has certain minimum requirements for its healthy growth so it won't flourish where it's too cold or too hot, where there is too much or not enough rain, or where the ground is just plain inhospitable.

Varieties of Grape

Several grape varieties can produce everything from cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and pinot noir (red wines) to chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Gris (white wines). French wines and their labels can be difficult to understand if you don't know French. French wines are labeled by the region they come from.

Most other wines are labeled by variety, like "cabernet sauvignon" or "chardonnay." So knowing which wine to choose takes a little bit of advanced knowledge on which regions produce the kind of wine you're looking for. For example, the Pomerol and St. Emilion regions of France only produce merlots. In Burgundy, merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes are grown.


Wine lovers love to sniff and swirl, discuss and speculate the finest, rarest wines in the world. One that has been diligently aged offers subtle, sumptuous pleasures. And wine is unique in its depth and personality, its complexity and expressiveness. Terroir in France has become something everyone wants to claim.

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