Many of the grapes native to France have become the sort of international names which we all recognize. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir are all household names within the United States and this wine club. Serious wine drinkers are also usually familiar with Malbec, Petite Verdot, Carmenere and of course the forgotten Cabernet Franc.
Bordeaux (perhaps the most famous growing region of France among those who drink wine at least two times per week) is known for its blends and perhaps that focus on grapes which can be added together give it an incredible amount of variety for vintners and drinkers the world over. Some grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are still incredibly important in Bordeaux, but have also gained prominence elsewhere in the world. A grape like Malbec is, for all intensive purposes extinct in its ancestral home of Bordeaux, but is being made famous again in Argentina. In fact when French vintners now try to grow Malbec at home, they often remark that they simply can’t create the same elegance that comes from average vineyard locations in Argentina. No one can explain it, but the grape simply likes to grow in South America.
Outside of Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley is known for its own unique set of grapes which are based around Syrah, while Burgundy only grows Pinot Noir because of the outstanding fit for that grape in their soil and climate.