The Ultimate Guide to French Grape Varieties: From Chardonnay to Syrah

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Are you curious to explore the world of wine and discover more about the different grapes used to make wine in France? Look no further. France is one of the largest wine producing nations, boasting an array of grapes from earthy reds of Bordeaux to crisp whites of Burgundy – its flavors and aromas are some of the most distinctive and vibrant anywhere. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at different French grape varieties, their history, as well as some popular wine regions within France.

Brief History of French Grapes

French grapes have been grown since the country’s very first vines were planted some 2,000 years ago. Through the centuries, France has created a diverse portfolio of grape varieties that produce some of the world’s finest and most distinctive wines.


Discover the Different Types of French Wines


Chardonnay is the most widely planted white grape in France with over 20,000 acres dedicated to it. It also produces many of the world’s renowned Champagnes which use exclusively Chardonnay grapes. Chardonnay grapes are sometimes blended with other varieties for white Burgundy or Loire Valley wines.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a  beloved white grape variety in France, known for its distinctive aroma and flavor. It is the primary grape variety for Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume appellations in the Loire Valley. Furthermore, Sauvignon Blanc is used to craft some of France’s top white Bordeaux wines as well as Vin de Pays wines.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is France’s most famous red grape variety, boasting over 37,000 acres of vineyard dedicated to it. It is used primarily in producing red Burgundy wine as well as many top red wines from Loire Valley and Champagne regions. Furthermore, Pinot Noir produces some world renowned wines from Cote d’Or and Cote de Nuits regions of Burgundy.


Syrah is a red grape variety native to France’s Rhone region. It’s used  in making red Rhone wines such as Hermitage and Cote-Rotie, plus many of Languedoc-Roussillon’s top red wines. Syrah also contributes flavor to many top Bordeaux reds by being blended into other grapes during production.


White Grapes

Popular French Wine Regions


The Bordeaux region is one of France’s most celebrated wine producing areas, producing iconic labels such as Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. It produces both red and white wines with popular varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Not to mention some truly world-class dessert wines like Sauternes or Barsac that have earned international acclaim.

Some of the most expensive and renowed wines are coming from the Bordeaux region.


Burgundy is one of France’s most renowned wine regions. It produces both red and white wines, with popular varieties being Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Furthermore, Burgundy also renowned for its sparkling wines like Cremant de Bourgogne.

Rhone Valley

The Rhone Valley is one of France’s most diverse wine regions, producing both red and white wines with popular varieties including Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault. Furthermore, this region produces some of the world’s greatest dessert wines such as Vin de Pays de Vaucluse and Chateauneuf-du-Pape.


Champagne is one of France’s most iconic wine regions, known for producing some of the world’s most luxurious sparkling wines such as Dom Perignon and Krug. This region produces sparkling wines using grape varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier.


Vineyards in french wine region


French grapes are some of the world’s most beloved and diverse. From Bordeaux to Burgundy, and from Rhone Valley to Champagne, there’s a vast array of grapes and regions producing incredible wines. Whether you’re in search of classic Red Bordeaux or refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, there’s a French wine for everyone’s palate. So next time you feel inclined for an alcoholic beverage, why not explore some delicious French varieties?