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The Softies wine tour of France

Posted 22 May 2017

With their lush greenery, slower pace of life and medieval villages nestled in the countryside, France's wine-growing regions are not to be missed. In fact, these areas often count among guests’ highlights when it comes to our French cycling tours.

Whether or not you’re a wine buff, take a look at our handpicked selection of destinations you can’t miss during your time in France (and the tours where you’ll be able to discover them).

Alsace Wine

1. Alsace

Alsace is located in between France and Germany, and has enviable grape-growing conditions. The vineyards here are sheltered by the Vosges Mountains, and experience some of the driest weather in France. 92% of the wine that Alsace produces is white, and popular varieties include Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer.

Discover this region on our Alsace Route du Vin tour. You’ll begin in the capital of Strasbourg – notable for its gothic buildings (such as the Cathedral de Notre-Dame) and half-timbered houses. Then you'll have a chance to explore famous wine areas like ancient Andlau, with its ninth-century monastery, to experience the delicious varieties for yourself.

Cotes du Rhone Wine

2. Côtes du Rhône

This region is most distinctive for its rich and strong reds, and two of the most common (and delicious) varieties are Syrah and Grenache. Wines from the Southern Rhône differ greatly from the northern types – the former tend to be aromatic and herbaceous, while the latter are savoury and bold.

If you fancy exploring the vineyards of this region for yourself, check out our Côtes du Rhône in Provence tour. You’ll carve a route through the countryside from Mazan to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, discovering small medieval villages surrounded by winelands (such as Loriol du Comtat) along the way.

Bordeaux Wine

3. Bordeaux

This southern area of France is arguably one of the best-known wine regions in the world, and the first Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines came from here. Over 90% of the types produced here are red; you should expect to find deep currant, plum and earthy cedar-tasting notes. Most Bordeaux reds are actually blends of two or more different grapes.

Where better to taste a Bordeaux than in the dramatic hills of this region? Try this for yourself on our Wines, Vines and Sunshine in Bordeaux tour. During your time here, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the village Sauternes – which produces its own variety of sweet white wine.

Loire Valley

4. Loire Valley

The Loire Valley, right in the heart of France, is rich in history. In fact, Joan of Arc marched troops through the area during the Hundred Years’ War. As well as grand châteaux, leisurely riverside paths and farmlands, the Loire Valley is renowned for its diverse offering of wines. They tend to be distinguished by their moderate alcohol content.

Discover the hidden gems of the Loire Valley for yourself on our Châteaux of the Loire cycling tour. Don’t miss tasting the local grapes in the vineyards around the village of Saumur, where you’ll find the perfect conditions for producing sparkling Brut. And on this French cycling tour, you’ll have plenty to toast.

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