Brittany is one of the most picturesque regions in France, and its wines are just as charming.
The region is best known for its dry white wines, which are made from a variety of grape varieties including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne. However, Brittany also produces a number of red and rosé wines, as well as a few sparkling wines.
Climate and Terroir
The climate is relatively cool, which results in the wines of Brittany producing crisp and refreshing varieties.
The vineyards are located mainly on the coast, where they benefit from the moderating influence of the sea. The soils in Brittany are quite varied but are typically high in limestone, which imparts a mineral quality to the wines.
Viticulture in Brittany has a long history, dating back to the Romans who planted vineyards here. In the Middle Ages, Brittany was an important wine-producing region, and its wines were highly priced by the English nobility.
Today, Brittany is still home to a number of small, family-run wineries that produce quality wines.
Some of the most notable wines from Brittany include Muscadet, a dry white wine made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape; and Coteaux du Layon, a sweet white wine produced in the Anjou region.
Rosé d’Anjou, made from Cabernet Franc and Grolleau grapes, is another popular wine from Brittany.
Red wines from the region are typically made from the Pinot Noir grape and include Chinon and Bourgueil. Finally, Brittany also produces a few sparkling wines, such as Crémant de Loire and Vouvray.
Top Wines of Brittany
There are plenty of wines here you’ll want to try, and that makes it hard to narrow it down to a simple list. However, some of my favorite wines from the region follow here, and I hope you’ll get to experience them as well.
Muscadet is the flagship wine of Britanny, but many producers grow a variety of other grapes as well. In fact, blends are very common in this region, so once you’ve tried the Muscadet, be sure to experiment with everything else on this list as well.
This unique wine is perfect for shellfish lovers, as it often takes on oyster-like characteristics. It’s also great with other seafood, poultry, and even vegetarian dishes.
However, its production is quite interesting. It’s made sur la lie, which means it’s not filtered before it’s fermented. The sediment gives it even more flavor and freshness.
A Muscadet from Brittany is made from the melon de Bourgogne grape. This Burgundy melon, as it’s called locally, came from Dutch merchants in the 1600s.
It’s a very refreshing grape, with high acidity and moderate alcohol. The sur la lie aging adds even more complexity to the wine.
One of the best Muscadet wines in all of Brittany comes from the Domaine du Haut-Planty in Le Landreau.
This estate is currently in the process of converting its entire operation to organic farming, and they’re about halfway done. In addition to their Muscadet, they also have reds and roses.
2. Coteaux du Layon
This is one of the most famous sweet wines in France, and it comes from the Anjou region of Brittany.
The vineyards here are located on south-facing slopes, which helps the grapes to ripen fully. The wine is made from Chenin Blanc grapes that are affected by noble rot, which concentrates the sugars in the grape.
The resulting wine is luscious and sweet, with aromas of honey, apricot, and peach. It’s a perfect dessert wine, but can also be enjoyed with foie gras or other rich dishes.
Coteaux du Layon was first produced in the Middle Ages and was even mentioned in a 13th-century poem by Rutebeuf.
It became well known in the 19th century when it was exported to England. Today, it’s one of the most popular sweet wines in France.
The Layon is a small tributary of the Loire, and this location is home to Domaine Patrick Baudouin. This family-run winery has been making Coteaux du Layon since 1885, and they currently have about 30 acres of vineyards.
Their wines are some of the most highly regarded in the region.
3. Rosé d’Anjou
Rosé d’Anjou is a dry blended rose made from Cabernet Franc and Grolleau grapes. Cabernet Franc is one of the most common varietals for blending in Brittany and contributes up to 10% of the blend in most cases.
The Rose d’Anjou is a light-bodied wine with delicate aromas of red berries and flowers. The flavor is fresh and lively, with a hint of sweetness. It’s a perfect summer wine and goes well with salads, grilled meats, and seafood.
Rosé d’Anjou comes from the Anjou region of Brittany. The first recorded mention of the wine dates back to the 15th century when it was made by the monks at the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire.
The Anjou region is known for its Cabernet Franc wines, and Rosé d’Anjou is made in the same style. The wine is typically made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Grolleau grapes, but some producers also use Gamay or Cot (Malbec) in the blend.
If you want Anjou straight from the source, visit Chateau de Saumur. This historic castle sits atop a hill in the heart of Anjou, and has been producing wine for over 800 years.
They make a wide variety of wines, including reds, whites, and roses. However, their Rose d’Anjou is definitely one of their best-known wines. And they’re a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Chinon is another red wine made from Cabernet Franc grapes. It has the aromas of blackberries, plums, and spice.
The flavor is dry, with firm tannins and good acidity. It’s a great wine for pairing with food and goes well with grilled meats, game, and strong cheeses.
Chinon comes from the Touraine region of Brittany, which is located just south of Anjou. The first recorded mention of the wine dates back to the 9th century when it was made by the monks at the Abbey of Saint-Martin-de-Tours.
The vineyards here are located on steep hillsides overlooking the Loire River. The climate is cool and humid, which is ideal for growing Cabernet Franc.
Chateau de la Grille is one of the most well-known producers of Chinon. The estate has been in the same family for over 400 years, and they currently have about 30 acres of vineyards.
Their wines are some of the most highly regarded in the region.
Bourgueil is also made from Cabernet Franc grapes. It’s similar to Chinon but is typically lighter in body and color.
The aromas are of red fruits and flowers, while the flavor is dry and refreshing. It’s an excellent wine for summer drinking and pairs well with salads, grilled meats, and poultry.
While Bourgueil is made in the same region as Chinon, the vineyards are located on the other side of the Loire River.
The climate here is warmer and drier, which helps the grapes to ripen fully. The resulting wine is fruitier and more full-bodied than Chinon.
Bourgueil has been produced for centuries and was even mentioned in a 12th-century document. It gained popularity in the 18th century when it was exported to England. Today, it’s one of the most popular red wines in Brittany.
Domaine de Geslets is one of the best-known producers of Bourgueil. They’re located on the opposite side of the Loire from Chinon vineyards and the vineyards are planted on a limestone slope for excellent irrigation.
This winery is operated by Sylvie and Vincent Grégoire, who have experience in other regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy as well.
6. Gros Plant du Pays Nantais
Gros Plant du Pays Nantais is a white wine made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. It’s a dry wine with aromas of citrus and white flowers.
The flavor is clean and refreshing, with good acidity. It’s an excellent wine for summer drinking and pairs well with seafood and poultry.
The Gros Plant vineyards are located in the Nantais region of Brittany, and while it’s similar to the Muscadet grape, it’s actually a different variety. The climate here is cool and damp, which helps to preserve the acidity in the grapes.
The first recorded mention of the Gros Plant dates back to the 16th century. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that it became widely planted in the region. Today, it’s one of the most popular white wines in Brittany.
Les Vignerons Nantais is one of the best-known producers of Gros Plant. They have over 100 acres of vineyards and produce a variety of wines, including reds, whites, and roses.
Their Gros Plant is dry and refreshing, with aromas of citrus and white flowers.