The Loire Valley Wine History

Have you ever wondered why France is renowned on a global scale for its production of wine? A visit to Loire Valley will undoubtedly answer that question. The region lies at the heart of France, embodying climatic and geologic sereneness and diversity. The valley houses the Loire, the longest river in France which was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. Loire Valley is the third-largest wine production site in France and produces over 87 appellations. Its rich history, culture, and ample beauty have made it the ultimate destination for wine lovers and connoisseurs from all across the world.

green grass field during golden hour

 

The area’s natural beauty is enhanced by the diverse nature of the wine region, housing unique grapes, appellations, and styles. The region is the home of a range of famous wineries, including Bouvet Ladubay, opened in 1851, Château des Vaults, opened in 1495, Le Domaine des Vallettes, Château de Minière, and Domaine Coirier (Winerist Magazine, 2021).

Wine map, Loire, Loire valley wine

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Loire Valley houses five wine regions, as follows:

  • Pays Nantais

Located near the city of Nantes at the Atlantic coast of Brittany, the region has long been producing dry seaside wine and Muscadet, one of the most important French white wine appellation since the Roman era. The important Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC’s) are:

  • Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu
  • Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire
  • Muscadet Sevre et Maine
  • Anjou

The region once commanded significant political influence as a result of its provision of wealth to the France kingdom. It is home to the best Loire Valley Chenin Blanc sweet wines, including Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume, and Coteaux du Layon. The important AOCs are:

  • Anjou
  • Bonnezeaux
  • Cabernet d’Anjou
  • Coteaux du Layon
  • Coteaux du Loire
  • Crémant de Loire (Anjou)
  • Rosé d’Anjou.
  • Savennières
  • Saumur

The city of Saumur is worth visiting for its magnificent castles alone, decorated with limestone that beautifully complements the region’s vineyards. Ancient limestone excavations left underground tunnels that locals now use as wine cellars (Longari,2015). Saumur is well-known for Chenin Blanc wines and Saumur-Champigny, among other red wines.

bread near wine

The important AOCs are:

  • Crémant de Loire (Saumur)
  • Samur Brut Rosé
  • Saumur Blanc
  • Saumur Brut
  • Saumur-Champigny
  • Touraine

This region has been dubbed the Garden of France as France’s nobility and kings built many of their chateaux here in Touraine, making it an important tourist destination. The region produces famous wine appellations, including Chenin Blanc’s Vouvray, and Cabernet Franc’s Chinon, Bourgueil, and St Nicolas de Bourgeuil (Longari, 2015). The area commands impressive wine quality with equally competitive pricing through the following AOCs:

  • Bourgueil
  • Chinon
  • Crémant de Loire (Touraine)
  • St Nicolas de Bourgueil
  • Touraine
  • Vouvray
  • Centre-Loire

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Like the region’s name, Centre-Loire sits at the exact geographic center of the Loire Valley. The area has a history of grape production and is the original home of the world’s prestigious Sauvignon Blanc and Sancerre. The important AOCs are:

  • Chateaumeillant
  • Menetou-Salon
  • Pouilly-Fumé
  • Quincy
  • Reuilly
  • Sancerre

Loire Quick Facts

  • Rabelais, a renaissance writer, was born in Lorraine in 1494.
  • Joan of Arc is a heroine who led French troops in the 1429 war at Orleans and led Loire to victory (Longari, 2015).
  • Being the cradle of the French Language, locals speak the purest French.

Significant Days and Months

  • January and February are generally calm, experiencing the highest number of rainy days.
  • Here is the catch: Sometimes, snow and rain can cause river banks in the countryside to burst and impede walking routes. On the bright side, the region produces the major chateaux, including Chenonceau and Chambord.
  • March is the month of holiday, with a significant event nearly every week, including Labor Day on the 1st and WWII Victory Day on the 8th. The region embraces the Chateau de Chaumont’s Garden festival from April to November, crowned by blooming tulips.
  • Look out for Vouvray’s wine fairs in June, and experience white wine sampling. In summer, Villandry’s gardens are graced with candlelights for special occasions.
  • Between May 7th and October 14th, is the appropriate time for outsiders to visit due to the ideal weather conditions.
  • In 2019, between May 2nd and September 3rd Loire valley members held a celebration at Château d’Amboise to commemorate the death of Leonardo da Vinci who originated the renaissance period in France. (Violier, 2019).

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