1 Saumur, Loire
Known for its cool-climate-style whites, such as Sancerre, Vouvray and Muscadet, the Loire’s varied wines are best sampled from the pretty town of Saumur.
2 St-Émilion, Bordeaux
St-Émilion is an ideal springboard for visiting the famous châteaux around Bordeaux.
3 St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Pays Basque
In the Pyrenean foothills, St-Jean is a delightfully picturesque medieval town where you can taste the luscious sweet wines of nearby Jurançon.
4 Béziers, Languedoc
The sun-drenched land sweeping from the Mediterranean coast is the world’s largest wine-producing region, and Béziers, its capital, is perfectly placed for tasting forays to Collioure, Banyuls and Faugères.
5 Bandol, Côte d’Azur
Low rainfall and oodles of sunshine are the hallmarks of the region to the east of Marseille, where the fishing village of Bandol is home to the flagship wine; reds and rosés rule the roost here.
6 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Provence
The wines produced around this ancient village in the southern Rhone are legendary – and expensive.
7 Beaune, Bourgogne
Burgundy boasts more AOP designation wine than anywhere else and the medieval town of Beaune is the recommended base.
8 Colmar, Alsace
The Fecht Valley, just west of Colmar, is striped with steeply shelving vines – source of Alsace’s finest Rieslings and Gewürtztraminers.
9 Épernay, Champagne
France’s champagne capital, Épernay, is the place to sample the country’s best bubbly.