Buying Wine in Southern France
With self-catering facilities and vineyards, dairy farms and orchards offering free stays with France Passion, a motorhome holiday is the perfect time to experiment and try a bottle of wine that you can’t get back home.
There are many grape varieties and producers on offer (around 7,000 vineyards in Bordeaux alone) so where do you start? Here are a few Happy Camper tips to help you navigate the world of French wine.
If you approach wine buying without any criteria the choices can feel overwhelming. Consider how you will be using the wine when you get back to the motorhome. Do you need a bottle of easy drinking wine to crack open at the end of a sunny day? Alternatively, perhaps you want something that will stand up to the challenge of strong cheese and fatty saucisson. Do you prefer red, white, sweet or dry?
Learn the language
While terms like Blanc and Brut have become familiar terms for many English speaking wine drinkers, others can be completely alien. You may be looking for a particular year (Annee) or provenance (AOC/Appellation). If you are looking for quality keep an eye out for Grand Cru and Grand Vin on the label, whereas Millesime indicates the vintage that the grapes were harvested in.
While you are travelling through the beautiful countryside of southern France, stop at one or two of the food and drink producers that you pass along the way. Try samples before you buy, it is common practice, and ask for assistance. The Vigneron can help you choose from their selection if they know what your preferences.
If you are shopping at a supermarket, start with bottles from the region where you are. The local ‘supermarche’ will stock a large amount of wine produced in the area but is not so easily available at home.