Any conversation about French culture must include a discussion about French wine. Consider, according to The Connexion, the French wine industry generates more than €6.33 billion every year, and that’s just for its overseas sales. Sales are even better within France itself; statistics from The Telegraph show that French adults drink 57 liters of wine every year. That’s just about a glass a day.
It’s no wonder that French wines are so popular, both inside and outside of France. Home to more than 280 appellations, wines that are tied specifically to a geographic region, the French offer beverages, Burgundy wines, Champagnes, etc., that can’t accurately be replicated in any other part of the world. If you find yourself wondering why the wines of France are so inimitable, you have to consider the history and geology of its most famous wine making region of Chablis.
The History of the Famous French Wines of Chablis
As written on AboutFrenchWines.com, viticulture first crept into France in the 6th century BCE. At that time, it’s believed that the Greeks carried their knowledge with them into Marseille, a southern part of what was then called Gaul, along the Mediterranean coast. As the centuries went by and the Roman Empire grew from fledgling republic to all-encompassing empire, viticulture became ever more refined by the religious establishment in France. St. Martin of Tours is famed for spreading Christianity and for spreading his masterful knowledge of wine-making throughout the country. It was this fact that kept wine-making under the control of Catholic monasteries throughout France until the revolution in the late 18th century.
As the French monarchy fell, so, too, did the church’s control over the viticulture of France. As wine became democratized, nearly 2,000 years of wine-making knowledge was passed on from wine-loving monks to the people of France. By this time, Chablis, a region in the heart of Burgundy, had become the center of wine production in the country. Over 200 years later, the people of Chablis are still putting their millennia of knowledge into each drop.
Why Chablis’ Geology is So Important to Its Best Wines
Of course, it’s not just the thousands of years of wine-making knowledge that make Chablis’ wines so well loved; the region’s geography plays an equally important role. As Bourgogne-wines.com, the official website for all of Burgundy’s wine regions, writes, the unique soil of Burgundy, and thereby Chablis, is crucial for shaping the flavors of the region’s grapes. A multi-layered soil system, comprised of skeletic top-soils, deep limestone and calcium brown soils, and particularly rocky substrate, adequately irrigates Chablis’ vineyards and gives its grapes their perfect balance of acidic and fruity characteristics. These soil conditions, known as terroir in French, are the biggest reason why the flavors of Chablis’ appellations cannot be replicated elsewhere.
As you can see, the wines of France rely on much more than a name of an appellation to be great. With thousands of years of history and region-specific geology, the wines of this well-known region are truly inimitable gems. Helpful sites.