France has been at the heart of the world of wine since ancient times. The grapevine first came to France through the Greek colony Massalia, which is now the city of Marseille. The Gauls of the Pre-Roman period imported huge quantities of wine from around the Mediterranean. During the Roman Empire, elements of modern French wine were already beginning to take form. For example, what are now the Cote d'Or and Cote-Rotie were considered great vineyard land, while the city of Burdigala (modern Bordeaux) served as a hub for export to the British Isles.
The monastic orders of eastern France and merchants of Bordeaux were the most influential groups on wine in the early modern period. Many of the fixtures of modern wine were developed by these groups over this period, including barrel aging, sparkling wine, and fining.
Today, France continues to enjoy a reputation as one of the world's greatest wine countries. Though the wine market becomes more international with every passing year, France remains the most closely associated with quality, competitiveness, and price. But with a broad range of wine matched only perhaps by Italy, French wine can display as much value as anywhere else in the world. Whether you are looking for one of the most elite Burgundy vineyards or an inexpensive rustic find, the wines of France are always an excellent option.
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