The grape harvest months are nearly upon us, so it’s the perfect time to plan a wine trip to France. Explore vineyards, enjoy tastings, join in harvest celebrations and see some glorious countryside in the gentle sunshine of early autumn.
With so many iconic wine regions to choose from, where would my ideal trip take me? I like to be a bit different from the crowd, so I would seek out local wine from limited production family vineyards. I’d want to taste the producer’s love for the grape and its bounty in the finished product, for them to care that the wine is explained and appreciated.
The Loire Valley would be a good start – specifically at Pouilly-sur-Loire in the Nièvre département for its aromatic Pouilly-Fumé. The town is picturesque and around it are lots of wine domaines, two of which are chateaux.
Then, perhaps, a steady pace along the Bison Futé quiet rural roads towards Bordeaux where my gite or B&B owners could advise on the best and least known local red wines. Here I would aim to learn about that elusive terroir effect and, frankly, how to choose one Bordeaux wine over another.
My next stop would be the Mâconnais region of Burgundy in central France – not for more red wine but my other favourite white, Pouilly- Fuissé. Yes, confusingly, this one comes from a totally different area than Pouilly- Fumé and Chardonnay is its only grape variety.
On the way back to the ferry, a stop in Champagne country would be de riguer. I might still have room for a couple of cases of fine but great value bubbly!
To plan your wine trip to France, use our in-depth guide to the French wine regions