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France is against Greece and Italy a relatively young wine country. The first vines were brought in the 6th Century BC, the Greeks, the Massalia (Lat. Massillia = Marseille) on the southwest by the Mediterranean coast. At that time, the later by the Romans as Gaul country designated by the Celts inhabited. It developed into a flourishing trade and the Greeks covered the needs of wine enthusiasts Gauls. As such the 5th Century began to immigrate into the Po Valley, they learned the Italian wines and their winemaking techniques to know and also began to import them. The later French wine consumed so long before they started, even on a larger scale which grow. With the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar (100-44 BC), there was a systematic dissemination. This was done in the first Century in the Rhone Valley, on the 2nd Century in Burgundy and Bordeaux and in the 3rd Century on the Loire. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus Marcus Aurelius (232-282) lifted the ban by Kaiser Domitian (51-96) and ordered to the mid-3rd Century, the planting of vines in the whole of Gaul.

The king of the Franks and later Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) has given a decisive impetus by its regulations for viticulture in France today. In the monastery of Citeaux in Burgundy was in 1098, the Catholic Order of Cistercian founded, which spread rapidly throughout Europe. The monks perfected wine with regard to soil type selection, grape selection and winemaking, which had an impact across Europe. But of equal importance for viticulture, the Order of Benedictine Whose most famous member Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715) was the "inventor" of the assemblage , the art of blending wines. Also worth mentioning is that the wine was included in the French Revolutionary calendar, which was named September's Vendemiaire (wine month).

In 1855 found the famous Bordeaux classification place that had a strong influence on the resulting sequence in the naming systems that are quite different in each region. Shortly after the land was the starting point of the largest and most comprehensive wine-growing disaster in the world of wine history, as from the 1860s, the phylloxera and mildew started their campaign of destruction across Europe. France was particularly hard hit, three-fifths (700,000 acres) of vineyards were destroyed. At the same time, however, the "Golden Years of Bordeaux," a sign of a new beginning, planted in the Medoc vineyards on a large scale. In France, recognized early on that being built on a certain floor, under the influence of local climate and certain varieties with distinctive characteristics of a wine. The beginnings have already made ​​the Cistercian . In the first third of the 20th Century was for the term terroir dominated. The winery owner Pierre Le Roy de Pierre Boiseaumarié (1890-1967), described in the 1920s, the ideal varietals for Chateauneuf-du-Pape on the basis of the typical soil and climate in a defined area of it. Further impetus to the agriculture professor was Joseph Capus, Joseph (1868-1947), who, along with Boiseaumarié as the initiator of the appellation applies.

French wine is today considered something extraordinary and as an expression of cultural perfection. The well-known British wine writer Hugh Johnson, Hugh has in his book "Atlas of French Wines" thusly: "In the course of history has evolved in different places of the earth is a form of cultural perfection that defies logical explanation. When you think of the Middle East, this is the religious fertility, the name of Germany is combined with music, the name of Italy with architecture. But who speaks of France thinks involuntarily of culinary delights. The French choose and prepare their food with so much zeal and diligence than anyone else in the world. Surely this great talent has helped to enjoy the French to be the creator of the finest wines. "

Regarding the mixture of grape varieties predominate in France very different philosophies, opinions and styles. In the south and south-west - especially in the Bordeaux - especially the reds are blended from several varieties, which are the classic blend , for which the term Bordeaux blend is. In the more northern areas, however, such as Chablis, Alsace, Loire, Burgundy, Savoy, and especially in the wines are made from a grape variety mostly unmixed. Particularly in the Burgundy documents and the related classification system are particularly pronounced. In the context of Clear the EU were cleared between 1988 and 2000 on 90,000 hectares of vineyards. Was affected mainly the region of Languedoc-Roussillon. In 2007 the total vineyard area 867 400 hectares, of which 45.672 million hectoliters of wine were produced. This is common with France Spain and Italy the world's top box (see also under Wine production quantities ). About 70% is red wine and 30% for white wines, and the Blend:

Grape (synonym) Color The main growing areas in France Hectare %
Merlot red Bordeaux (Pomerol, St Emilion) 117 000 13.7
Grenache Noir red Southern France, Corsica 93 000 10.9
Ugni Blanc white Bordeaux, Charente, Cognac, Armagnac 82 000 9.6
Carignan red Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, Corsica 73 000 8.5
Syrah red Rhone, Provence, Languedoc 68 000 8.0
Cabernet Sauvignon red Bordeaux (Medoc), Südfrankr, Provence 60 000 7.0
Chardonnay white Burgundy, Beaujolais, Champagne, Alsace 42 000 4.9
Cabernet Franc red Bordeaux, the Loire 39 000 4.6
Gamay red Beaujolais, the Loire, Savoie, Gaillac 35 000 4.1
Pinot Noir red Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Savoy 28 000 3.3
Cinsault (Cinsault) red Southern France, Corsica 25 000 2.9
Sauvignon Blanc white Bordeaux, Loire, Provence 24 000 2.8
Melon de Bourgogne white Beaujolais, Burgundy, Loire 13 000 1.5
Sémillon white Southwest Frankr, Sauternes, Provence 12 000 1.4
Pinot Meunier (Meunier) red Champagne, Lothr (Côtes de Toul), Loire 11 000 1.3
Chenin Blanc white Loire (Anjou-Saumur, Touraine), Limoux 10 000 1.2
Mourvèdre red Provence, Rhone, Corsica 8000 0.9
Colombard white Armagnac, Cognac, Bordeaux 7500 0.9
Muscat Blanc white Languedoc-Roussillon 7400 0.9
Alicante Bouschet red Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence 7000 0.8
Malbec (Côt) red Bordeaux, Cahors, Buzet, Loire 6300 0.7
Grenache Blanc white Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon 5400 0.6
Aramon Noir red Languedoc 4300 0.5
Macabeo (Maccabeu) white Languedoc-Roussillon 3500 0.4
Riesling white Alsace, Lorraine (Moselle) 3400 0.4
Viognier white Rhône, Languedoc-Roussillon 3300 0.4
Tannat red Bearn, Cahors, Madiran 3200 0.4
Role white Bellet, Corsica 3100 0.4
Gewurztraminer white Alsace 3000 0.4
Muscat of Alexandria white Roussillon 2900 0.3
Gros Manseng white Southwest France 2900 0.3
Mauzac white Gaillac, Limoux 2600 0.3
Clairette Blanche white Languedoc 2500 0.3
Pinot Gris white Alsace, Burgundy 2400 0.3
Grolleau red Loire 2400 0.3
Auxerrois white Alsace, Loire, Lorraine, law 2200 0.3
Caladoc red Rhone 2200 0.3
Muscat of Hamburg red mainly as a table grape 2100 0.2
Grenache Gris white South of France 2000 0.2
Folle Blanche (Gros Plant) white Loire (Pays Nantais) 1900 0.2

The country is administratively divided into a total of 95 departments, which are divided into districts (arrondissements) and cantons. The vineyards are spread fairly evenly over three quarters of the surface. Under the protection and supervision of the INAO was a division in 465 appellations (as of mid 2006). In contrast to Italy (where it is 100% identical), there is the wine-growing regions in only a few cases, a match with the political boundaries (eg, Bordeaux and Alsace). It should be noted however, that the classification or designation of the wine-growing regions are in the individual sources A diversity. One of the most common classifications is:

* Armagnac , with 12,000 hectares
* Bordeaux, with 113,000 ha
* Burgundy , with 40,000 hectares
* with 34,000 hectares
* Cognac with 75,000 hectares
* Alsace with 15,000 hectares
* Law with 1,900 acres
* Corsica with 7,500 acres
* Languedoc with 220,000 ha
* Loire Valley with 70,000 acres
* Lorraine with 125 hectares
* Provence with 25,000 hectares
* Rhone with 80,000 hectares
* Roussillon , with 40,000 hectares
* Savoy with 1,800 hectares
* South West France with 160,000 ha

In France, there were already late in the first ahrtausends strict wine laws and was the first country to have its wine-growing regions in the exact geographical maps recorded and classified. This was done by setting legally valid regions and boundaries by which the quality of a wine can be clearly inferred. It is defined by which "appellation" he is. The better the wine, the more accurate the determinations. The special system of "controlled origin" is under Appellation d'Origine protégée described, it is controlled by the authority INAO .

Wine categories: In August 2009, the EU wine market organization with fundamental changes in the levels of quality wine terms and was valid. As a transitional arrangement until 2013 are still allowed as an alternative to the old names AOC, Vin de Pays and Vin de Table. From the year 2014, however, may only just have the new names are listed on the bottle labels. The new names and grades (see also detailed under Quality System ):

* Vin de France (formerly vin de table, table wine)
* PGI = Protected Geographical Indication (formerly vin de pays, vin)
* AOP = Appellation d'Origine protégée (formerly VDQS, AOC / AC)

Vin de France: For the "Vins sans Geographical Indication" (wines without geographical indication) are permitted grape varieties from all over France. There are wines with and without indication of vine varieties and / or vintage. The old designation Vin de table is allowed only until the year 2013, the first introduced in 2007 Vignobles de France disappears. Responsible is not the INAO, but the association Anivin de France.

IGP: The "Vins avec Geographical Indication" (wines with Protected Geographical Indication) are subject to less stringent production standards as the AOP. There are always wines from a region, such as Gascony, Pays d'Oc or Val de Loire. You must comply with an EU regulatory framework as recommended varieties and maximum yield, but the producers have more freedom than with AOP (where the grapes are indeed required). In IGP wines, other grape varieties are used as recommended. The old designation Vin de pays is allowed only until 2013.

VDQS: The Stage "Vin de Délimité Qualité Supérieure" was created in 1949 as a precursor for the AOC status. The production conditions must now be prepared to AOP standards and respect for the terroir can be detected. These wines are so hochklassifiziert to AOP, the old name VDQS is permitted only until 2013.

AOP: The new top of the quality pyramid. Compared to the year 2013 only to be allowed alternative AOC controls reinforced by independent bodies (see details below Appellation d'Origine protégée ). There are three levels of AOP Cru (wine from a winery, location or plot), local AOP (wines from a municipality) and regional AOP (wines of a region), see also below Grand Cru .
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