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Wines of the Loire Valley

 

Loire Valley wine map

See larger map here >

 

Within the Loire Valley, France's third largest wine producer, vineyards and wine making are rooted in the very heart of its culture and heritage. Its official wine route which is marketed under the umbrella of 'La route des vignobles' stretches a total of 800km from Nantes in the west to Sancerre in the east.

 

Living here we have become more acquainted (probably too frequently!) with the many good wines the Loire Valley has to offer.

 grapes on a vine near Chinon in the Loire Valley

 

The subtle yet very demanding culture that surrounds the art of wine production here, is grounded in a landscape that offers very little in the way of favours to the vintners.

 

Yet their success can be measured in the number of fine wines they produce, wines from BourgueilChinon, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Sancerre, Saumur, Touraine & Vouvray to name but a few.

 

 

There are a number of grape varieties used throughout the region which give rise to this vibrant diversity of wines.

 

Loire Valley grape varieties

 

Red

 

Cabernet Franc

 

This is the long established signature grape  for the red wines of Saumur and Touraine in the Loire Valley.The wines it produces, Chinon, Bourgueil, St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny are lighter than that of Bordeaux (where the grape probably originated) wines. This is due in part to the Loire Valley's cooler climate. These wines have gained a reputation for refreshing, youthful wines that should be drunk early. 

 

Gamay

 

The Gamay grape is the mainstay of rosé wines of the Loire Valley produced in Anjou and Saumur. It is also used sometimes in the blending of red wines of those areas. There are some wines in the region made entirely from this grape such as ‘Tourraine Gamay’.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Although a popular choice throughout the world of vintners this grape variety is not widely used in the Loire Valley. It is added to a number of reds to give them some 'body', plus it is used to produce some rosés.

 

Pinot Noir

 

This grape which gives us the popular reds of Burgandy also does well here in the Loire Valley in the light reds of Sancerre and Cheverny.

 

White

 

Chenin Blanc

 

Wines with this grape are probably the most synonymous with the Loire Valley. Its versatile properties mean that it is found in anything from the very dry to the sweetest of wines plus it is great for making sparkling wines.

Appellations where this can be found include Vouvray, Anjou, Chinon, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Saumur and Savennieres.

 

Sauvignon Blanc

 

These grapes are responsible for the popular and world famous Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wines, classified as “Vins du Centre”

 

Muscadet

 

This grape is grown around the extreme western part of the Loire Valley, around Nantes, as it proved to be the best variety to cope with winter frosts the area is susceptible to. The wines from these grapes are marketed under the same name,

 

Chardonnay

 

In the Loire Valley Chardonnay grapes are used mainly as a blending grape adding richness to sparkling wines and they are sometimes used in Saumur and Anjou whites but only as a small percentage of the finished blend.

 

young woman pouring sparkling Vouvray wine to taste

 

The area is also second only to Champagne in the production of sparkling wines in France but available at a fraction of the price.


Wine production here helps perpetuate a lifestyle that the region is happy to share with its tourists as well as trying to encourage a more global 'brand'.

 

A free map and guide are available from 'InterLoire' (the official wine body for the region) to the vineyards of the Loire Valley - available to download in English here: map and guide.


This doesn't include some famous appellations which are very close to the river Loire such as Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and Quincy – these are all classified as “Vins du Centre” ('Centre wines' on map) but it does cover the Loire Valley from the Atlantic to Orleans. Included are 69 separate appellations with the AOC* stamp of approval with more than 7,000 wine producers.

 

*AOC - 'appellation d'origine controlee'  which roughly translates as ‘areas of controlled origin’

 

Each year when the grapes are almost ripe and are about ready for harvesting you can enjoy a guided walk through a Loire Valley vineyards courtesy of http://www.vvr-valdeloire.fr/ which can be educational and fun.

 

External links:

 

  • http://loirevalleywine.com/            Official site on the wines of the Loire Valley

                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • richardkelley.co.uk/                         Merchant and writer's guide to Loire Valley wines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video:'Floyd Uncorked'

              

 

 

Wine Events

 

poster advertising the Bourgueil wine fair in Tours in 2017

25th March 2017

Your chance to meet fifty winemakers of Bourgueil along boulevard Heurteloup in Tours and taste  their 2016 vintage . 

Wines from Bourgueil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil plus food are on offer during this, the fifteenth edition, of the Wine Festival of Bourgueil.

 

 

 

Annual Vouvray wine fair

 

Vouvray Wine Fair (Foire aux vins)


 

Discover the wines of Vouvray presented by a variety of local winemakers in the heart of the troglodyte  caves ‘de la Bonne Dame’ a great experience – try not to be the nominated driver!


Visitors can also enjoy gourmet specialties to accompany the wines.

Free entry. Tasting glass is € 3.00 on site.   10 am -7 pm
Location: Vouvray - Caves de la Bonne Dame

 

 

Map location

 

Read more...

 

 


Poster advertising Vitaloire wine fare in Tours in the Loire Valley

 

 

http://vitiloire.tours.fr/

 

Vitiloire, Tours celebrates wines of the Loire Valley May 27th and 28th 2017
Saturday from 10h to 19h - Sunday from 10h to 18h 
place de la Gare - Boulevard Heurteloup - Garden Prefecture
 

On the occasion of Vitiloire , Tours, in the heart of one of the great wine regions, welcomes nearly 150 winemakers for the weekend.

 

Tents at the Vitaloire wine fare in Tours France

 

It's right in the city centre, on the Boulevard Heurteloup , Station Square and in the garden of the Prefecture, the public is invited to discover the diversity and richness of the Loire wines represented by 70 AOC. 
 

There is also a market and gourmet village  dedicated to the gastronomy of Touraine  where you can taste the famous goat’s cheese of Sainte-Maure, rillettes, Foie gras and even local beers.

 

Whether you are experts or amateurs, come and relax, share, discuss, enjoy our wines - Saturday, 27th and Sunday 28th May.

 

 

Check out our blog-post on previous year's event here

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Champigny wines, the town of Saumur hosts two evenings where thousands gather to taste the great wines and produce of the area in a party atmosphere with live music.

http://www.saumur-champigny.com/grandes-tables

 

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