Grape varieties guide by region

Published : 2023-08-30 09:32:36
Categories : Wine

Grape varieties guide by region

France is internationally known for its viticultural wealth. Each region has its own particularities, terroirs and grape varieties. The latter is at the root of the diversity and quality of french wines. With this guide, we will explore the many grape varieties of the French regions, identify the most diverse ones and discover which are the most appreciated for their varieties.

The regions’ grape varieties in France

France is often described as the birthplace of winemaking, a nation where each region has developed its own identity based on grape varieties, terroirs and skills.

These grape varieties are genuine treasures of the French winemaking heritage and reflect the diversity and wealth of the regions they represent.


  •        Bordeaux : This region is dominated by Merlot, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. These varieties produce powerful and tannic wines with a great aging capacity.
  •        Loire : Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc are the stars of this region. They produce fresh, fruity and sometimes mineral wines, perfect to accompany a great number of meals.
  •        Alsace : Alsace is famous for its white varieties such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. These wines are floral and fruity with a beautiful acidity.
  •        Savoie : Jacquère, Altesse or even Mondeuse are the star varieties of this mountainous region, producing fresh and light wines.
  •        Jura : Savagnin, Poulsard and Trousseau are Jura’s emblematic varieties, producing complex and sometimes oxidative wines.
  •        Côtes du Rhône : Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre dominate this region, producing powerful, spicy and full-bodied wines.
  •        Bourgogne : Pinot Noir for red wines and Chardonnay for white wines are Bourgogne’s star varieties, producing elegant and delicate wines.
  •        Beaujolais : Gamay is the main grape variety and produces light, fruity and voluptuous wines.
  •        Languedoc Roussillon : Among a wide range, Carignan, Grenache and Mourvèdre produce generous and sunny wines.
  •        South-West : Tannat and Malbec are the dominating varieties, producing robust and full-bodied wines.
  •        Provence : Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre are often used for the fresh and aromatic rosé wines of the region.
  •        Corse : Nielluccio and Sciaccarello are the emblematic varieties of this region, producing slightly Mediterranean wines with character.
  •        Champagne : Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the foundation of these internationally famous effervescent wines.


The regions with the widest range of grape varieties

Languedoc-Roussillon stands out with a wide range of grape varieties. Historically, this region had a key role in viticultural experimentation, combining mediterranean traditions and external influences. Vallée du Rhône, with its microclimates and diverse soil conditions, is also a place of important diversity. Though smaller, Alsace succeeded in preserving a rich palette of grape varieties, a reflection of its history and unique terroirs. According to the French grape varieties’ map by region, we can observe an impressive concentration of varieties in these regions, illustrating the richness and complexity of French viticulture.


Which are the most appreciated regions ?

Bourgogne with its delicate Pinot Noir and mineral Chardonnay, is often mentioned as an international reference. Bordeaux and its complex blends seduces with fine and powerful wines. But the French also have a soft spot for Beaujolais wines, especially the Gamay, for its freshness and indulgence. Alsace’s Riesling is very appreciated for its vivacity and expressive aromas, as well as Vallée du Rhône’s Syrah for its spicy and full-bodied character. The ranking of the grape varieties which are the most cultivated in France shows that Merlot, Grenache and Syrah appear among the favorites of the French, reflecting a preference for powerful but aromatic wines.


France is a genuine treasure for wine lovers. Its diversity of grape varieties is inestimably precious. Each region and their specificities contribute to making France an international, viticultural reference. May you be an amateur or a professional, it is essential to know and understand this diversity to fully appreciate the richness of french wines.