France is opposite Greece and Italy a relatively young wine-growing country. The first vines brought in the 6th century BC. The Greeks who founded Massalia (Latin Massillia = Marseille) in the southwest on the Mediterranean coast. At that time, the country, which was later called the Gaul by the Romans Celts inhabited. A lively trade developed and the Greeks met the demand. When they immigrated to the Po Valley in the 5th century, they got to know Italian wine and began to import it. The later French people had been consuming wine for a long time before they even started to grow them on a larger scale. The conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) led to a systematic spread. This occurred in the 1st century in the Rhone Valley, in the 2nd century in Burgundy and Bordeaux and in the 3rd century on the Loire. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus (232-282) lifted the ban on emperors Domitian (51-96) and in the middle of the 3rd century ordered vines to be planted all over Gaul.
The king of the Franks and later emperor Charlemagne (742-814) gave decisive impulses for viticulture in today's France through his regulations. In 1098 the Cîteaux monastery in Burgundy became the Catholic order of the Cistercian founded, which spread quickly across Europe. The monks perfected viticulture in terms of soil type selection, grape variety selection and wine production, which had an impact across Europe. But the order of the Benedictine, whose most famous member is probably Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715) was the "inventor" of the assemblage, the artful blending of wines. It is also worth mentioning that the wine was included in the French revolutionary calendar, September was given the name Vendémiaire (Wine month).
In 1855 the famous Bordeaux Classification instead, which had a major impact on the quality class systems that subsequently emerged, but which are very different in the individual regions (see under Grand Cru ). Shortly afterwards, the country was the starting point of the largest and most comprehensive catastrophe in the history of viticulture, as from the 1860s phylloxera as well as real and false mildew launched their extermination campaign across Europe. France was particularly hard hit, with over three fifths (700,000 ha) of the vineyards being destroyed. At the same time, however, the "Golden Years of Bordeaux" signaled a new beginning when large-scale vineyards were created in the Médoc.
In France it was recognized early on that on a certain soil type, under the influence of there climate (Small climates), certain grape varieties as well as the art of the winemaker creates a wine with a distinctive characteristic. The beginnings already made that Cistercian, In the first third of the 20th century this was the term terroir embossed. The winery owner Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (1890-1967) described the ideal grape varieties for the in the 1920s Châteauneuf-du-Pape due to the typical soil and climate in an area defined by him. The agricultural professor Joseph gave further impulses Capus (1868-1947), who together with Boiseaumarié as initiator of the appellation system applies.
French wine is now considered something extraordinary and an expression of cultural perfection worldwide. The famous English wine author Hugh Johnson has aptly described this in his book "Atlas of French Wines": "Throughout history, a form of cultural perfection has evolved in various parts of the world that eludes any logical explanation. If you think of the Middle East, this is religious fertility, the name Germany combines with music, the name Italy with architecture. But when you talk about France, you automatically think of table delights. The French choose and prepare their dishes with more zeal and care than anyone else in the world. Certainly, this brilliant talent for enjoyment helped the French to become the creators of the finest wines. ”
Different philosophies and styles prevail with regard to the grape varieties. In the south and southwest, especially in Bordeaux, the red wines from several types are mixed, these are the classic ones cuvées, for which there is the term Bordeaux blend gives. In the more northern areas, however, such as Chablis, Alsace, Loire, Savoy and especially in Burgundy, the wines are mostly unmixed made from a grape variety. In Burgundy in particular, the location and associated classification system is particularly pronounced. In the context of clearing programs The EU cleared around 180,000 hectares of vines between 1988 and 2010. Languedoc-Roussillon was particularly affected.
In 2012 the total area under vines was 792,000 hectares, of which 41.5 million hectoliters of wine were produced. France lies with it Spain and Italy in the worldwide top field (see also under Wine production volumes ). This year there were 68,500 wineries with an average of 9.1 hectares of vineyards (Champagne 2.4 and Bordeaux 14.4). Around 45% process the grapes themselves and produce 55% of the production, the rest delivers Winzergenossenschaften, The production consists of 45% red wines, 43% white wines (most of them in brandy) and 12% rose wines. Around 62% are AOP wines, 18% IGP wines and 20% Vin de France. The Blend 2010 (ex statistics from Kym Anderson ):
|vine||colour||Synonyms or French name||hectare|
|Garnacha Tinta||red||Grenache Noir||90991|
|Trebbiano Toscano||White||Ugni Blanc||83445|
|Melon de Bourgogne||White||Melon||12364|
|Muscat Blanc / muscatel||White||-||7671|
|Cot||red||Côt, Malbec, Pressac||6123|
|Garnacha Blanca||White||Grenache Blanc||5004|
|Alicante Henri Bouschet||red||Alicante Bouschet||4322|
|Gewurztraminer / Traminer||White||Gentil Rose Aromatique, Savagnin Blanc||3168|
|Clairette||White||Blanquette, Clairet, Clairette Blanche||2405|
|Mauzac Blanc||White||Mauzac, Mausac||1991|
|Garnacha Roja||White||Grenache gris||1699|
|Marsanne||White||Marsanne Blanche, Roussette Grosse||1437|
|Roussanne||White||Petite Roussette, Roussanne Blanc||1352|
The country is administratively divided into 95 departments. The winegrowing areas are fairly evenly distributed over three quarters of the surface. Under the protection and supervision of INAO there are around 400 AOP areas (quality wines) and around 100 IGP areas (country wines). In contrast to Italy (where this is 100% identical) there is hardly any agreement with the political borders in the wine-growing regions:
France was the first country to geographically map its wine-growing areas. This was done by establishing legally valid areas and limits from which the specific quality of a wine can be clearly derived. This is clear and unmistakable due to the appellation in question. The better a wine, the more precise the determinations and usually the smaller the range. The special system of "controlled origin" is under Appellation d'Origine Protégée described; it is controlled by the authority INAO,
In August 2009, the EU wine market regulations came into effect with fundamental changes in wine names and quality levels. Alternatively, the designation AOC may continue to be used. They are (see also in detail under quality system ):
Vin de France (Vins sans Indication Géographique = wines without a geographical indication): Replaces the previous name Vin de table, Grapes from all over France are allowed. There are wines without and with indication of grape varieties and / or vintage. The responsibility is not as with the quality wines and country wines INAO but the association Anivin de France,
IGP (Vins avec Indication Géographique = wines with a protected geographical indication): Replaces the previous name Vin de pays, The wines are subject to less stringent production guidelines. Recommended grape varieties and maximum yields are defined, but there is more freedom than with AOP. Vine varieties other than those recommended can also be used. A hierarchical distinction is made between the size and the scope in IGP regional, IGP départementales and IGP de petites zones. The six largest regional IGP areas are Atlantique. Comté Tolosan. Comtés Rhodania. Méditerranée. Pays d'Oc and Val de Loire,
VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure): The level was created in 1949 as a preliminary stage for the AOC rank. The production guidelines must now be prepared according to AOP standards and the relationship to the terroir must be demonstrated. These wines are thus highly classified as AOP.
AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protégée): The new top of the quality pyramid. Compared to the old AOC, controls have been strengthened by independent bodies. There are three levels: AOP Cru (wines from a winery, location or plot), AOP communal (wines from a community) and AOP regional (wines from a region). See in detail under Appellation d'Origine Protégée,
Special classification systems: In addition to the EU-compliant quality levels, there are sometimes confusing classification systems in France that differ from region to region. These are, for example, those already mentioned Bordeaux Classification For Médoc and Sauterne from 1855, the Burgundy classification, as well as the classifications of Graves and Saint-Emilion, See a complete list at Grand Cru,
Influential French wine authors or wine critic are or were Michel Bettane, Guy Bonnefoit, Pierre Brejoux, Thierry Desseauve, Patrick Dussert Gerber, Odette boat, Alexis Lichine, Émile Peynaud, Olivier Poussier, André Simon and Christian Vanneque, To the most important wine magazines or wine guides count the four works of Guide des Vins, Hachette, Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France and Le Grand Guide des Vins.
In addition to national, there are also some important international ones Wine-producing institutions with headquarters in France for research and development, standards and norms as well as professional representations. These are CPVO (Community Plant Variety Office), FIJEV (Federation Internationale des Journalistes et Ecrivains des Vins et Spiritueux), IFV (Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin), INAO (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine), INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique), ISVV (Institute of Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin), OIV (Organization Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin) and UPOV (Union Internationale pour la Protection des Obtentions Végétales).
France map: From French_vineyards.svg : * France_blank.svg : Eric Gaba ( Sting - fr: Sting )
derivative work: Sdaubert ( talk ) / derivative work: Furfur ( talk ) - French_vineyards.svg , CC BY-SA 2.5 , Link