Must-try Wineries from Northern France
With so much to offer in the ways of wine, you could easily drink your way through France and never grow bored. The unique character of its many regions and remarkable terroirs make the northern part of the country, in particular, a place to explore if you love expressive wines with a true sense of place.
There are quite literally thousands of wineries dotted across northern France, but today, we'll highlight a few can't-miss producers for the next time you're feeling a little thirsty.
We start off in the northern tip of Burgundy with Christian Simon of Chablis. Simon is one of Chablis' standout winemakers and offers delicious wines from one vintage to the next. It's ultra-classic Chablis, full of zesty citrus, orchard fruits, a hint of peach, and plenty of that mouthwatering minerality that sets Chablis apart from other Chardonnay regions.
A highlight of Simon's line is the Premier Cru Montmains, an award-winning Chablis which makes an unbeatable option if you're in the mood for more of an occasion wine. Prefer to cellar your wines before enjoying them? This stunning Premier Cru Chablis.
Moving south to another stellar Chardonnay hub, we come to Domaine Feuillat-Juillot, located in the heart of Montagny. Côte Chalonnaise. It's slightly warmer down here; while Chablis is all steel and citrus, Montagny is lusher, with riper, almost tropical fruits appearing in its wines. Domaine Feuillat-Juillot produces floral, mineral-driven wines that strike the perfect balance between a generous mouthfeel and subtle flavour.
Winemaker Francoise Feuillat-Juillot is a master at crafting world-class Chardonnay. Nowhere is this more apparent than in her award-winning Montagny Premier Cru. It's a classy effort which highlights the fact that although it may not be as widely known as the likes of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise and Montagny in particular, are a brilliant place to pick up drinkable, age-worthy Chardonnay.
Chateau de Santenay
For Burgundy fans who prefer to drink red, Chateau de Santenay offers a fantastic premier cru Pinot Noir from Mercurey. Again, Mercurey is one of the more southerly appellations of Burgundy, and the wines tow the line between elegance and ripe fruits. This large estate makes stunning wine from vineyards across southern Burgundy from both red and white grapes, but it's the reds we can't seem to get enough of. This is textbook Burgundy, made by the incredibly talented Gerard Fagnoni who is a master at striking the balance between showcasing the natural flavours inherent to the grapes and allowing just the right amount of oak ageing to round out his wines.
Domaine de Gry-Sablon
While some might think of Beaujolais as the shy younger sibling to Burgundy, winemakers like Dominique Morel of Domaine de Gry-Sablon demonstrate that the region is capable of producing serious wines. With vineyards located in eight of Beaujolais' villages, including some of the crus Beaujolais, Morel's winemaking style is well-suited to the region. Farming here is done with sustainability in mind and all harvests are conducted by hand, ensuring only the best grapes make their way into the domaine's wines. Slow, temperature-controlled fermentation allows subtle nuances in the wine to develop, making for wonderfully vibrant, well-structured and complex Beaujolais.
Some of the vines are getting on in years; the grapes which make their way into the Fleurie are over 70 years old! These old vines make wine of pronounced concentration and complexity. Looking for a mid-week wine that doesn't skimp on flavour? Domaine de Gry-Sablon has you covered.
Chateau de Fesles
We leave Burgundy behind and move east to the Loire Valley where we stop off in Anjou. Chateau de Fesles is a shining star of the region, where it has produced phenomenally Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc for centuries. In that time, it has established itself as one of the world's greatest Chenin Blanc producers.
But we'd be remiss to overlook its brilliant reds. More full-bodied than Pinot Noir but lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cabernet Franc grape offers the perfect middle ground. Ripe and fruity with a long finish, Chateau de Fesles Cabernet Franc is an easy drinking wine which dazzles with cured meats, pork, lamb, and even poultry. While best enjoyed in its youth, you could definitely get away with stashing it in the cellar for a year or two.
Domaine La Gemiere
Sancerre is easily one of the world's greatest Sauvignon Blanc regions and Domaine La Gemiere is a prime example of just how outstanding these wines can be. The domaine's wines have the classic gooseberry, citrus, and minerality of the best Sancerres.
Domaine la Gemiere is a family affair; the passion of the Millets is evident in their wines. To produce the highest quality wines, grapes are hand harvested and juice is fermented cool to allow the delicate flavours of the Sauvignon Blanc grape to shine through. This is a quintessential picnic or brunch wine, which will beautifully complement soft cheeses (especially goat cheese), salads, and seafood dishes.
Whether you're beginning your wine journey or are a savvy wine lover, the north of France has so much to offer.
Flavourful, expressive wines are the byword here and with so many classic regions, you can rest assured you'll find something to enjoy every day of the week.