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Wines from France

The main wine-growing regions of France are, of course, the Bordeaux region, cradle of the great classified growths in 1855, Burgundy, a mosaic of terroirs enhanced by the work of the Cisterian monks, but also the Champagne region renowned for its sparkling wines, the Loire Valley, the Languedoc-Roussillon in full revival, the Rhone Valley, north and south, and Alsace.

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It was around 600 BC that Greek immigrants planted vines in the Marseille area. Then the Romans continued to develop viticulture during their occupation of Gaul. It is believed that it was in the Rhone Valley that the first quality wines were produced for the first time in France. During archaeological excavations, Roman amphoras dating back to the time of Emperor Augustus have been found. It was around the 3rd century AD that vines spread to the Bordeaux and Burgundy region. In the Middle Ages, monasteries had their own vineyards and wine became France's leading export product. It was also around this time that the English discovered the Claret de Bordeaux, as the region was governed by the English kingdom, which greatly facilitated the expansion of the Bordeaux wine trade to Great Britain. For historical reasons too, Burgundy wines were exported to Belgium and the Netherlands, as Flanders and the Netherlands owned the Duchy of Burgundy.

The French Revolution of 1789 saw changes in the French vineyard. Many Bordeaux castles belonging to the aristocracy were expropriated and then resold. Thanks to the gradual improvement of means of transport, French wines were exported more and more throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The end of the 19th century coincided with the arrival of devastating diseases for the vines, such as oidium or phylloxera. In the 20th century, the system of controlled appellations (or AOC) was created, in order to ensure a better tool for monitoring the quality of wines produced in the various regions. Also, unlike the wines of the New World, French wines are certainly those that are subject to the strictest regulations in the world, whether in terms of yields in the vineyard, date of harvest or authorised grape varieties.