11 Exceptional French Wineries to visit
Including some gems off the beaten track...
In recent years, wine tourism has experienced remarkable growth, attracting millions of travelers worldwide to explore new wine regions, indulge in tastings, and deepen their knowledge of wine. French vineyards stand out amidst this trend, as France holds a dual role as the world's most visited country and a top destination for wine tourism.
Renowned for its iconic châteaux, Grands Crus Classés, and prestigious wineries, France offers a myriad of unforgettable experiences. In this article, we unveil eleven extraordinary wine estates to visit that impress wine enthusiasts with their innovative offerings.
1. J de Telmont
Something special: Create your own champagne blend.
J de Telmont distinguishes itself as a refreshingly personal and welcoming champagne house, a true rarity in a region known for its guarded traditions and centuries-old secrets. Founded in 1912 by Henri Lhôpital and now led by the fourth generation, the house embraces a modern and inclusive approach to engaging with its customers.
During the lively harvest season in September, J de Telmont opens its vineyard to the public. In addition, a captivating workshop takes place in a charming space overlooking the picturesque valley, accommodating 12-15 participants. Here, guests are treated to a delightful champagne and cheese-tasting experience. Adding to the allure, J de Telmont offers the opportunity for visitors to create personalized bottles by blending their own unique champagne, a cherished option often chosen for special and memorable gifts.
1. Château de Boursault
Something special: Sustainable Viticulture and once the Estate ...
Off the main strip of renown houses in Champagne, is one of the only “Château” appellations in Champagne, located on the estate that belonged to the Grande Dame, Veuve Clicquot.
In 1927 the Fringhian family became the owner of the Château de Boursault estate. A unique property where this family of passionate winegrowers has adopted the management of its terroir with a strong ecological awareness. The champagne is produced there according to an artisanal process that has been preserved for four generations now, producing a high quality champagne, rich and varied, favouring the freshness and finesse of the aromas.
3. Maison Régnard
Something special: one of Burgundy's oldest houses producing world-famous wines.
Established in 1860 by Mr. Zéphir Régnard, Maison Régnard stands as one of Burgundy's oldest houses.
In 1984, Baron Patrick de Ladoucette assumed ownership of the estate, further elevating the wine's style and characteristics to new heights. Respectful of tradition, Maison Régnard produces 7 Grands Crus Chablis, the 5 main Premiers Crus, Chablis and Petit Chablis.
Step into this magical site, where the finest wines are crafted and grace the tables of distinguished French and international cuisine.
4. Château de Bellet
Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Something Special: Château de Bellet had the honor of gracing the royal wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Charlene.
Château de Bellet, nestled amidst the mountains and the sea at the peak of AOP Bellet, holds a rich historical legacy. With its roots dating back to the 18th century, when the Barons of Bellet first planted vines on these hills, the castle and appellation bear their name. The property's iconic Chapel, erected in 1873 to honor Agnès Roissard de Bellet, stands as a testament to the family's heritage. Today, this Chapel serves as a multifunctional space, housing the reception, store, and tasting room, where visitors can indulge in the gastronomic wines celebrated for their distinctive character. Furthermore, guests can opt for a majestic wine picnic admiring the picturesque landscape.
5. Maison Champy
Region: Burgundy, Côte de Beaune
Something special: the oldest house of Burgundy, and organic winemaking methods.
The pioneering winery of Burgundy since 1720, has gained international acclaim for its exceptional Grands Crus from the renowned Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune.
With 21 hectares of vineyards in the prestigious Pernand-Vergelesses appellation, Maison Champy demonstrates its commitment to the environment and the preservation of its exquisite terroir by practicing organic farming methods on select plots.
6. Château des Vaults
Region: Loire Valley
Something Special: Unique biodiversity and creative activities
This prestigious organic winery holds a special place in the region, as it’s also a designated conservation area, safeguarding the habitat of rare plant species that grace the banks of the River Loire. A visit to Château des Vaults is a true cultural indulgence. Beyond the delightful wine tastings and vineyard tours, the château captivates visitors with a vibrant calendar of events. From captivating concerts and literary evenings to modern sculpture exhibitions, the estate attracts both wine and art enthusiasts.
7. Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Something special: Les Sources de Caudalie luxury hotel and Vinotherapy spa; La Grand'Vigne restaurant, awarded two Michelin stars.
Florence and Daniel Cathiard, the proprietors of Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux, have made significant investments in creating a wonderful haven for wine lovers. Their commitment to crafting an immersive experience is evident in the stunning sculptural allure of the vineyard landscape and the architectural brilliance of the château. In addition, they have introduced the opulent Les Sources de Caudalie hotel and spa, alongside the awe-inspiring 'Land Art forest' that seamlessly integrates contemporary masterpieces into the surrounding ecosystem.
8. Château Pape Clément
Something Special: Grand Crus Classé. The wines have gained fame since their first harvest in 1252, and was once owned by a Pope
The history of Château Pape Clément spans seven centuries.Located within the Pessac-Léognan appellation and the Graves wine region, Château Pape Clément benefits from exceptional soils which contribute to its superb terroir. In an elegant tasting room, you can savor Château Pape Clément's exceptional red wines.
Château Pape Clément is also renowned as one of the oldest Bordeaux Grands Crus, with its vineyard established by Bertrand de Goth, who later became Pope Clément V in 1305. In 1980, Bernard Magrez acquired the estate and has since dedicated himself to its preservation and enhancement, honoring its historical significance and its role in French history.
To fully immerse yourself in the life of the vineyard and the castle, you can stay on site. What awaits you are five beautiful suites where you can experience its unique historic charm with high-end service of French elegance in a stunning location.
9. Maison Zeyssolff
Something Special: Ten generations owned crafting outstanding wines, founded in 1778
In line with there deep love for terroir and respect for nature they have converted to organic viticulture, manual grape harvesting and adopt a deliberate limitation of yield.
With their impressive longevity as a family owned affair, Zeyssolff wants to democratize one of France's most beautiful traditions: wine!
They open their doors to create a site of interaction, where the narrative of wine is recounted through a familial and regional history. They consider themselves fortunate to be the keepers of a rich history and legacy. Zeyssolff have successfully established a space of sharing where visitors leave feeling enlightened. They are committed to provide their visitors with not just cultural but also emotional treasure.
10. Château de Parenchère
Something Special: General Subervie, a hero of the Battle of Waterloo, was one of the castle’s owners
Surrounded by lush green countryside on the border of Gironde and Dordogne, Château de Parenchère exudes timeless charm. Its origins date back to 1570 when Pierre de Parenchières, Lord of Fourgoignières, laid the foundations of this 18th-century architectural masterpiece. Once held by the governor of the district of Sainte Foy la Grande, the fief of Parenchère saw the restoration of its vineyards by a dedicated wine brotherhood in the 18th century. Famous even then, the estate's wines were coveted by Bordeaux and English merchants who used them to enhance blends. Notably, General Subervie, a hero of the Battle of Waterloo, later became one of its owners, leaving a lasting mark on the property until his passing in 1856.
11. Domaine de la Sanglière
Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Something special: Scenic nature and safari tour
Domaine de la Sanglière is a remarkable 42-hectare estate situated in the heart of the Côtes de Provence. Its privileged location places it a mere 600 meters from the Mediterranean and just a scenic 30-kilometer drive from the glamorous Saint-Tropez. Notably, the vineyard is safeguarded by the Conservatoire du Littoral, a reputable organization dedicated to preserving the rural essence and environmental integrity of the cherished French coastline for both present and future generations. In addition, you can join a fun Safari tour, which offers a comprehensive experience of local viticulture and winemaking.