France is a haven for sommeliers and oenophiles lusting to swirl, sniff and sip velvety glasses of vin. Vineyards, cellars and wineries – 27,000 of them to be precise – weave the rolling hills of the French countryside between Champagne and the Rhone Valley, some a backdrop to grand family-run estates and Michelin class fine dining brasseries.
For a taste of the finer things in life, what could be more relaxing than checking in to a romantic chateau with views over the vines and a cold glass of fizz in hand?
With so many corks to pop, pairings to explore and grape varieties to choose from, settling on where to sample blends can be tricky. From the silky reds of Languedoc-Roussillon to the sweet sauternes of Bordeaux, here are the best wineries to visit in France for a vineyard trip that’s well saturated with all things wine.
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Champagne Le Gallais, Champagne
Best for: Classic cuvées
The Champagne Le Gallais estate in the heart of the Marne Valley, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is four hectares of vine-draped landscape. Limestone soil guarantees their champagnes remain elegant and balanced as they mature, with each cuvée intended to tell the story of their vine plot, ancestry and year.
With a panoramic terrace overlooking the family vineyard and the Château de Boursault, tasting tours and private masterclasses take visitors through the vine to-flute production process with samplings of three of Champagne Le Gallais’s champagnes from €15pp.
Les Vins Domaine du Closel, Loire Valley
Best for: Dry savennières
Family vineyard Les Vins Domaine du Closel sits in Château des Vaults in Savennières, the product of a long line of female winemakers and producers maintaining the property. The slate hillsides, Anjou sun and fragrant rose orchard are home to a wealth of dry white, red, rosés and sparkling wines from savennières and les insolites developed with an emphasis on biodiversity.
Walk the vineyard, be charmed by the chateau and pair their wines with cheese on guided tours of the Domaine, complete with tastings, lunch or dinner.
Wine tour quotes are available on request.
Château de la Crée, Burgundy
Best for: Santenay pinot noirs
Château de la Crée dates back to the 15th century but today is home to some of France’s best pinot noir and chardonnay wines. Stretching across 25 acres of the…