10 outstanding vineyards in France you have to visit

Domaine Virgile Joly in the Languedoc wine region

Domaine Virgile Joly in the Languedoc wine region - Credit: Archant

With over 3000 different wines produced in the country, France is one of the largest wine producers in the world. Visit 10 outstanding vineyards to soak up some of that heritage and taste some exceptional wine

Domaine de Cazes at Rivesaltes in the Roussillon wine region

Domaine de Cazes at Rivesaltes in the Roussillon wine region - Credit: Archant

Vineyards chosen by Dominic Rippon, France Magazine wine writer.

Maltoff vineyard at Coulanges la Vineuse in Burgundy

Maltoff vineyard at Coulanges la Vineuse in Burgundy - Credit: Archant

Domaine Virgile Joly, Languedoc

This family-run vineyard is located at the foot of the Larzac plains at St Saturnin de Lucian. The vineyard is dedicated to using organic farming methods to produce a chemical-free wine within the AOC Coteaux du Languedoc – Terrasses du Larzac. The grape varieties that are grown here are the Grenache blanc for white, and Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault for red. Long committed to wine tourism, vigneron Virgile Joly organises a wine and film night every August, when visitors can taste, watch an open-air film and eat dinner in the village square.


Klur vineyard in the hilly Alsace region

Klur vineyard in the hilly Alsace region - Credit: Archant

Domaine Cazes, Roussillon

The largest certified biodynamic estate in France, stretching over 220 hectares of land at Rivesaltes in the Pyrénées Orientales, Domaine Cazes produces 13 different wines every year. Grape varieties include Syrah, Grenache noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat d’Alexandrie. It was created in 1895 by Michel Cazes and is today managed by his great grandsons. The vineyard includes a restaurant, La Table d’Aimé, named after Michel Cazes’ son, which uses organic ingredients. Live music is played on Tuesday evenings in the summer.


Chateau de Thieuley vineyard in the Bordeaux wine producing region

Chateau de Thieuley vineyard in the Bordeaux wine producing region - Credit: Archant

Domaine Maltoff, Burgundy

Located in the wine-growing region of the Auxerrois at Coulanges-la-Vineuse, this vineyard produces wines from the typical Burgundy varieties: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Visitors can enjoy tastings of either white, rosé or red wines, all benefitting from the Bourgogne Coulanges la Vineuse designation, in the cellar as well as a visit of the estate. Odile and Jean-Pierre also offer cosy B&B accommodation and a table d’hôtes: a chance to taste the estate’s burgundies accompanied by homemade regional gastronomic specialities.


Mourchon vineyard in the Rhôone wine producing region

Mourchon vineyard in the Rhôone wine producing region - Credit: Archant

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Vignoble Klur, Alsace

This wine estate was established in 1999 but has been producing wine since the 17th century. Located in the village of Katzenthal, in the centre of Alsace, the family run business concentrates on organic farming and biodynamic techniques and produces Wineck-Schlossberg white wine and Steinacker sweet wines. Vigneron Clément Klur hosts vineyard visits and tutored tastings and offers delicious meals and appetisers at the estate’s wine bar, Le KatZ. There is also a range of holiday accommodation on the estate or nearby.


Jean-Charles Girard-Madoux domaine in the Savoie

Jean-Charles Girard-Madoux domaine in the Savoie - Credit: Archant

Château Thieuley, Bordeaux

Sisters Marie and Sylvie Courselle make exceptional wines at their estate in Entre-Deux-Mers that was originally established in 1950 by their grandfather. They grow a variety of grapes with a majority of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc for whites and Merlot for red that all benefit from the Bordeaux designation. The estate prides itself in its search for innovation in order to produce top quality wines. They also run a B&B, le Clos Sainte Anne, and a wine club, le Club T, through which members learn about winemaking and enjoy tastings.


Domaine de la Croix in Provence

Domaine de la Croix in Provence - Credit: Archant

Domaine de Mourchon, Rhône

Bought by British entrepreneur Walter McKinlay in 1998, this estate, located above the little village of Séguret, produces a wide range of wines. They produce a white, a rosé and six reds, which include a Côtes-du-Rhône and a Châteauneuf du Pape, following a sustainable viticulture programme. The estate holds vineyard tours every Wednesday evenings (May to September) and group tastings with lunch in the vineyard. Gîte accommodation for up to ten people in the Winemaker’s House is also available with stunning views of the Mont Ventoux.


Tarlant champagne producer in Champagne

Tarlant champagne producer in Champagne - Credit: Archant

Domaine Jean-Charles Girard-Madoux, Savoie

In the Alpine foothills, with spectacular views of Mont Granier and the Belledonne range, this family estate in Chignin briefly left the Giard-Madoux family as Jean-Charles learned the trade of winemaker in Burgundy. In 2006, he took up the business once again and now produces well-reputed wines in the region. He offers whites, reds, a sparkling white and a rosé. Jean-Charles also prepares gastronomic meals in summer, which are taken outside among the vines, and cellar feasts in winter, accompanied by his estate’s wines.


Working with horses at the Jean Bourdy vineyard in the Jura

Working with horses at the Jean Bourdy vineyard in the Jura - Credit: Archant

Domaine de la Croix, Provence

Situated on the coast just south of Saint-Tropez, at the foot of the village of la Croix Valmer, this estate produces delicious Provence rosés since 1882. Now managed by the Bolloré Group, the vineyard stretches over 100 hectares and produces reds and whites as well as rosés, all under the AOC Côtes de Provence designation. The vineyard has spectacular underground wine warehouses which are often used for events and receptions. It is renowned locally for its lively vineyard events and the vineyard is available for visits.


Champagne Tarlant, Champagne

This family champagne house, boasts majestic views over the Marne Valley west of Épernay. Since 1687, they produce a wide range of champagnes deriving from several grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Petit Meslier. The Tarlant family use traditional methods mixed with up to date techniques to ensure a high quality of wine is produced. Located in the little village of Oeuilly and across four hectares of land, it runs vineyard and cellar tours as well as tutored tastings of its impressive champagnes.


Caves Jean Bourdy, Jura

This fine biodynamic estate is located in the small town of Arlay across ten hectares and two designations: Côtes du Jura and Château-Chalon. The vineyard has been run by the family for fifteen generations. It produces Côtes du Jura in both white and red but also other traditional wines such as Vin de Paille. They also keep exceptional vintage bottles of wine in their cellar. It offers tastings within its 15th-century vaulted cellars, has its own family wine museum and organises walks in the mountainous vineyards of Jura.


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