Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WINE BIZ | French Vineyard Maps

A sketchy map of French wine-growing
Depending on how much wine we drink, we all have a general idea about the wine-making regions of France.

Starting at upper left (NW) is Calvados, the apple brandy (or apple-and-pear brandy) made in Normandy.

Alice and I were there in June during the week of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. A monument was erected to my bomber-pilot uncle Willem and crew. They were hit by flak and crash-landed on a pear farm that most likely contributed to bottles of Calvados.

We went around the area with Rex and Deborah Henderson of Perth, Australia. Rex's father was pilot of the other plane that crash-landed in the area that week (ten planes went out from Melbourne, UK and eight came back) - a monument to his crew was also erected.

Amazing detail on the wine regions in France.
The Loire vineyards are below the Calvados region, then Cognac, Bordeaux and Armagnac, with the plentiful Languedoc-Roussillon wines by the Riviera.

On the eastern side of France, Champagne at the top, then Alsace wines, Burgundy (Pinot Noir reds, Chardonnay whites, Chablis in the north), Beaujolais, Rhône and Provence.

When we were visiting in Honfleur, I ran across a map of the wine-growing regions in much greater detail than anything I had seen before.

Look at Valence, south of Lyon, and you can see with the new detail that it is right between two wine-growing areas on both sides of the Rhône – the Ardèche to the west and the Drôme to the east. Even more detailed maps are available here.

Valence is notable also for being on the first stop on the TGV after Lyon.

It is the location of the only three-star Michelin restaurant operated by a woman, the Maison Pic of Anne-Sophie Pic, the third-generation owner.

I thought I would share this map as a starting point for talking about terroir and future vineyard tours.