French Grape Varietals

By: Genevieve Mc Carthy / Last updated: March 8, 2024

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Embark on a captivating oenophilic adventure as we unravel the kaleidoscope of flavors that define the essence of France’s grape varietals. We have curated a collection of the most renowned and cherished grape varieties that have flourished in the vineyards of this wine-loving nation. From the regal Cabernet Sauvignon of Bordeaux to the delicate Pinot Noir of Burgundy, each variety has a story and a taste to enchant. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or an eager enthusiast, join us as we traverse the vineyards of France and savor the essence of these exceptional grapes, steeped in tradition and brimming with character. So, raise your glass and indulge in this aromatic bouquet of French grape varietals, celebrating the splendid diversity that graces the world of wine. SantĂ©!


  • Chardonnay– the traditional white grape of Burgundy (such as Chablis); Chardonnay is grown all over France and is probably the most famous white varietal in the world today. Read more
  • Chenin blanc– is used frequently in the Loire Valley (where it is also called Pineau de la Loire). Used to make both delicious dry wines as well as sweet dessert wines. Read more
  • Clairette– white grape found commonly in the Languedoc and RhĂ´ne. – Read more
  • GewĂĽrztraminer – an aromatic wine grape variety used in white wines and mainly planted in cooler regions. Read more
  • Grenache Blanc– makes meaty whites (usually included as part of a blend) in Languedoc and the RhĂ´ne. – Read more
  • Marsanne– is a white wine grape, mainly found in the Northern RhĂ´ne region. Read more
  • Mauzac– minor grape used in blending in southwest France. Read more
  • Muscadelle– the 3rd grape in the Sauternes blend, also makes sweet wines in Ste Croix-du-Mont. Read more
  • Petit Manseng– lesser grape used in Languedoc white blends. Read more
  • Pinot Auxerrois– used in blends in the Alsace Region.
  • Pinot Blanc– lightish grape used in Alsace. Read more
  • Pinot Gris– cousin to Pinot Blanc, this grape is also used widely in Alsace. Read more
  • Roussanne– is a late-ripening white wine grape grown originally in the RhĂ´ne wine region. Read more
  • Riesling– grown in Alsace, used to make many single varietal wines. Read more
  • Sauvignon Blanc– used to make wonderful Sancerre, Pouilly FumĂ©, and Menetou-Salon in the Loire. Also widely used in Bordeaux (Graves, Entre- Deux-Mers) and throughout the south. Read more
  • Sauvignon Gris– minor grape used in Sauternes.
  • Semillon– the great Sauternes grape, is used all over Bordeaux and southwest France in other sweetie appellations like Monbazillac and Soussignac. Read more
  • Ugni Blanc– a base grape for many white wines throughout the south and the main ingredient in cognac.
  • Viognier– wildly aromatic grape used in the south and the main grape used in the wonderful wines of Condrieu. Read more


  • Alicante Bouschet –light, a slightly acidic grape used in Corsica and Provence for the reds. Read more
  • Cabernet Franc – is the main grape in Loire Reds and the secondary grape in Bordeaux. Read more
  • Cabernet Sauvignon– the king of French grapes and principal grape used in the famed Medoc, or left bank of Bordeaux. Grown all over the country. Read more
  • Carignan– of Spanish heritage, is also used widely in Sardinia. In France, it is a blender grape found frequently in the Languedoc on the other side of the Spanish border. Read more
  • Cinsault– the grape has soft, fruity flavors and makes both rosĂ© and red wines in Provence, Languedoc, and the RhĂ´ne. Read more
  • Duras– minor grape cultivated in Gaillac.
  • Gamay– is the main grape used in Beaujolais and is noted for its strawberry flavors. Also used in some Loire reds and in Gaillac and Fronton near Toulouse. Read more
  • Grenache (Noir)– superlative grape used all over the south, from Languedoc to the great wines of the
  • Malbec– the grape that launched Argentina to fame is actually of French descent, and it is grown especially in southwest France. Called “Auxerrois” in Cahors and “Cot” in the Loire. Read more
  • Merille– minor blender grape used in appellations like Fronton, Buzet & CĂ´tes du Marmandais.
  • Merlot– most famously used to make fine right bank wines in Bordeaux (Saint-Emilion and Pomerol), Merlot is grown all over France. Read more
  • Mourvedre– a delightful Southwestern varietal. Read more
  • Negrette– this lesser-known grape is used in Gaillac and Fronton.
  • Petit Verdot – A late riping grape used in classic Bordeaux blends. Read more
  • Picpoul Noir– minor grape in the Languedoc and RhĂ´ne.
  • Pinot Meunier– the black grape in the Champagne blend. Read more
  • Pinot Noir– the most mythical wines using Pinot Noir would be in Burgundy’s CĂ´te d’Or. Read more
  • Syrah– the fabulously spicy grape also known as “Shiraz” outside of France. Grown all over France, but most famously in CĂ´te-RĂ´tie. Read more
  • Tannat– more widely used in Uruguay than France- is an important southwest varietal with structure and backbone, often used in blends.


Avatar photo

Genevieve Mc Carthy

Further Reading: Discover More Related Blog Content

2 thoughts on “French Grape Varietals

Des Mc Carthysays:

December 19, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Many thanks, Fuhndhu - I have updated the blog post with your suggestions


December 12, 2020 at 1:01 am

And Gewurtztraminer, Marsanne, Rousanne ?

More information

If you would like us to customize an exclusive luxury tour, contact us and let us know your travel plans. We offer luxury food and wine tours for private groups of a mininium two guests. In addition, all of our private, chauffeured tours are available year-round upon request.

Cellar Tours Private Luxury Food & Wine Tours

Cellar Tours

Welcome to Cellar Tours, the premier Luxury Travel Specialist since 2003. Our goal is to provide you with the ultimate food and wine vacation experience, with exclusive Mercedes chauffeured tours that showcase the best of local cuisine and wines.

Our team specializes in crafting bespoke, custom-designed vacations, events, and incentives tailored to your unique tastes and preferences. Travel is not just about seeing new places - it's about creating unforgettable memories and indulging in the finer things in life.

As members of Slow Food, OTAVA (Travel Agency Association in Spain), and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), we promote sustainable tourism and support local communities. We work closely with top-rated hotels, restaurants, and wineries to provide you with the highest level of service and attention to detail.

Whether you're planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a corporate retreat, let Cellar Tours be your guide. With our passion for food and wine, extensive knowledge of local culture, and dedication to exceptional customer service, we're confident we can exceed your expectations.

Contact us today to start planning your dream vacation – we can't wait to hear from you!

Recommended by