When people think of wine, they often think of Italy. But did you know that France is one of the world’s largest wine producers, along with Spain, America, and of course, Italy? In fact, France takes their wine so seriously that in 1935, they created the Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) system. This system created rules on which grapes could be grown in what regions of the country. Check out some other facts about French wine!
The Romans first planted the seeds, quite literally, across France centuries ago that created vineyards perfect for making wine. Today, there are multiple wine regions, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne. An interesting thing about French wine is that the vineyards owners take their soil very seriously. In fact, many of the same types of grape plants are used around the country, as each region produces a different flavor of the same wine. Wines are labeled by the region in which they were produced as the soil greatly impacts the flavor due to the difference in humidity, temperature, and sunlight exposure.
Popular wines from Bordeaux include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Burgundy is home to famous dry wines known as “burgundies” made from the same grapes as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Champagne produces, you guessed it, the famous sparkling white wine known as champagne.
There is a myth that the man who first created champagne was Dom Perignon, a monk in Reims, France in the 17th century. In fact, the luxury vintage champagne brand Dom Perignon was named after him and is produced on the same property where his monastery once stood. It’s said that as he was trying to perfect wine and minimize the bubbles, he accidentally created champagne. After tasting his mistake, he supposedly exclaimed “Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!” Unfortunately, the stars were old news. There is evidence of sparkling wine dating back centuries before Perignon’s ‘discovery’. While he may not have invented bubbly, he still contributed a great deal to the art of wine.
While Perignon was a monk and lived a humble life, today, champagne is associated with luxury and class. Princess Diana and Prince Charles supposedly had 99 bottles of Dom Perignon champagne served at their wedding and all bottles were consumed by the end of the night. As for the origin of its elite status, it is said that a king was baptized in the cathedral of Reims and to celebrate, the royals drank champagne. Then centuries later, champagne was given the privilege of being the only wine legally allowed to be transported by glass bottle rather than wooden barrel, as the barrels caused the champagne to go flat and lose its iconic bubbly taste. Champagne continues to be the gold standard of French wine.
Celebrate with French Wine
So next time you have something to celebrate, whether it be something as big as your wedding or even something as small as finishing the work week, consider indulging in some French wine. Maybe pair a glass with a recipe from one of Le Manhattan Bistro’s blogs for a night of true French cuisine.