When wine lovers talk about the unique, defining characteristics of a bottle of wine, there is one word that you are bound to hear more than any other: terroir. It refers to the precise combination of geography, climate, soil, and more that defines a wine, and makes it different from one just a few miles away. The same word captures the very essence of France. Though a certain joie de vivre is an ever-present common thread from one end of France to the other, so much else changes from one province to the next (and often just between towns). From the mighty peaks of the Alps to the lush greenery of the Loire Valley and the sunflower-strewn fields of Provence, France yields only more and greater pleasures as you dive deeper into it. From briny oysters in Brittany to decadent foie gras in Burgundy, an effervescent bottle of Champagne to an earthy Bordeaux, regional terroir is present in every aspect of French life. It is a life’s work to explore it all. And there is no bad place to start.
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