Not long after being in France, these words escape your lips enthusiastically, “C’est Magnifique,” which means “It’s magical.” How else would you describe a landscape that looks like it is straight out of a fairy tale? Timeless-looking chateaus, charming towns, quaint villages and luxuriant pastures greet your eyes. And then there are the vineyards. Stretches of grape-bearing vines carefully stacked against each other on rolling slopes are a feast for the eyes. Some of the wine regions are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The best way to explore the plantations is with a French canal barge, boats that define luxury, style and comfort while cruising along canals that cross some of the most famous vineyards in the country.
The vineyards in the Sancerre region are stretched out on the eastern part of the Loire valley and fall along the route of Canal lateral a la Loire. They cover the communes of Vinon, Veaugues, Sury en Vaux and Saint Gemme, among others. The history of these farms dates back to 582 BC, with Augustine monks having contributed significantly to their development. The three types of wines produced are Red, White and Rose. During your visit, you will gain an insight into which wine pairs well with which food. The Sancerre Wine Fair would be a great time to visit it when different wines from the region are displayed at one place.
Although the central canal in Burgundy is Canal de Bourgogne, others too host luxury barges. Exploring the vineyards of Burgundy is a unique experience, more so because the Climats or wine plots in Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2015. It’s interesting to know that a single bottle of wine produced from these lovely plots costs almost 3,000 USD. You should try two kinds of wines during your visit: Chardonnay, White Burgundy and Pinot Noir, or Red Burgundy.
If you have ever wondered where the sparkling wine Champagne came from, this is it. Barge cruising is done on the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne, connecting the Marme and Saone rivers. The vineyards located close to Reims and Epernay are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of these are Hautvillers, Fort Chabrol and Avenue de Champagne. Besides private tasting at wine houses, you can visit the hilltop of Hautvillers, where vintners first used the traditional method to make this drink.
Pouilly sur Loire
Pouilly sur Loire is located in the Loire valley, on the eastern bank of the Loire River. It is one of the wine regions that you cannot afford to miss during your barge wine tour. The Pouille vineyard carries enormous historical significance, having earned recognition way back in the 5th century. It is recognized worldwide for its white wines, which are available under two names: Pouilly Fumé and Pouilly sur Loire. During your visit to the estate, the difference between grapes grown on flint, chalk and clay will be shown to you by the winemakers.
The experience of exploring the famous wine regions on a French canal barge cruise is unparalleled. You get plenty of time to taste and relish the best wines, enjoy private tastings and are guided on every step of the tour.