The Loire Valley Wine Regions
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 unique climatic and geologic features. The Loire River flows through the valley, making it the longest river in France. It was made into a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. Loire Valley is the third-largest wine production site in France and is divided into over 50 appellations. Its rich history, culture, and ample beauty have made it the ultimate destination for wine lovers and connoisseurs from all across the world.
The area’s natural beauty is enhanced by the diverse nature of the wine regions, 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).
Loire Valley is divided into four wine regions, listed here from east to west:
1. Pays Nantais
Located near the city of Nantes close to the Atlantic coast, the region has long been famous for producing a dry white wine from the grape, Melon de Bourgogne called Muscadet, one of the most important French white wine appellation since the Roman era. Some of the most important Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC’s) in this region are:
- Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire
- Muscadet Sevre et Maine
This region once commanded significant political influence as a result of its provision of wealth to the France kingdom. It is home to many different kinds of wine including dessert, white, red, rosé and even some sparkling wine. The most used grape varieties include Chenin Blanc and Cabernet France. But there are plenty of other varieties allowed depending on the AOC. The important AOCs are:
- Quart de Chaume
The city of Saumur is worth visiting for its magnificent castles, 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).
This region has been dubbed the Garden of France as France’s nobility and kings built many of their grand chateaus in Touraine, making it an important tourist destination. The region contains many grape varieties but the most famous include Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Gamay (Longari, 2015). The area’s most famous AOCs include:
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Like the region’s name, Centre-Loire sits almost in the center of France. 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:
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).
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 flood and impede walking routes.
- 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 perfect time for tourist 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.