Loire Valley wines.

 

Loire Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

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 Bourgueil, Chinon, Montlouis-sur-Loire, 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 grapes

 

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.

 

 

 

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” 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’

 

 

External links:

 

  • vinsvaldeloire.fr/en                        Official site on the wines of the Loire Valley

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video:

              

 

Wine Events

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Champigny wines, the town of Saumur hosts two evenings on the 31/07 and 01/08, 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

 

 

Vouvray Wine Fair (Foire aux vins) 2013 
From 15/08/2013 to 18/08/2013 


 

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 for sale on site.   10 am -7 pm
Location: Vouvray - Caves de la Bonne Dame  : France 

http://www.vins-vouvray.com/archives/foireauxvinsdevouvray.php

 

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