What makes the Loire so SPECIAL?
In the Loire valley you find a huge range of terrior in this cool climate wine region of France.
The length of the Loire river, over 1000 kilometres, means that it covers a lot of geological and
climatic variation. One of the benefits of all this variety for the wine tourist is that the Loire
Valley is the only region in France to produce excellent wine in every category: red, white, rose;
still and sparkling; dry and sweet. So let's go and discover more about the grapes and wines of the
The soils are widely different and regional varied from in the western coastal regions
of Nantais and Anjou being part of a decayed granite, schist, slate, and sandstone.
The Eastern end of the Loire is geographically a vast chalk bed made of fossilized sea shells,
known as the Paris Basin. It starts around Saumur and goes through to Sancerre in the Centre region.
This produces siliceous and chalky soils.
The Loire wine region which is famous for its white wines. Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are
the most important grapes, plus other white wine grapes being Melon de Bourgogne, Folle Blanche,
Aligoté and Chasselas. They account for over 75% of the wine produced in the Loire.
The main red wine grape grown in the Loire is Cabernet Franc with lesser amounts of Cabernet
Sauvignon, Gamay and Pinot Noir.
Principal LOIRE Grape Varieties
Sauvignon BlancUsed extensively in Centre
vineyards of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé to produce the distinctive flinty acidy character
with tones of citrus and gooseberries.
Used to produce styles from dry to sweet but all with a certain floral, honeyed
character, along with zesty acidity.
Muscadet de Bourgogne (Melon de Bourgogne)
Tends to produce a tart wine that benefits from barrel aging on the lees.
Increasing in popularity especially with shellfish and fish.
A red grape that produces
wines with floral tones of violets and light berries.
At its best from Chinon and Bourgueil
Produces a delicious wine bursting with crushed
red-berry characters- strawberries and cherries. In the Loire is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon
In the Loire is
often used to produce a well-balanced wine by blending with Gamay.
Loire Wine sub-regions
|Pays Nantais/Muscadet Region
The most western wine region of the Loire, Pays Nantais or as it is also known Muscadet,
is greatly influenced by the Atlantic climate. In volume terms it is the biggest producer
in the Loire with the bulk of the wine, Muscadet, coming from the Melon de Bourgogne grape
with the best examples coming from the Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine area, a district which
is named after the two rivers of the area. The barrel aged Muscadet sur lie - where the
wine has been left on its lees and yeast is an interesting and more complex wine style.
Also produced in the region is what is reputed as France's cheapest white wine, Gros Plant,
a light bodied wine made from the Folle Blanche grape.
Chateau le Vallon des Perrieres, CLISSON
The wine area of Anjou-Saumur offers the largest range of wine styles including s
parkling and sweet wines in the Loire Valley. In this area are mainly produced
rose wines, however white from Chenin Blanc is the most known style. Anjou-Saumur
is also a famous area for the production of sweet wines from Chenin Blanc.
Vineyard out of Saumur
Going towards east, is the wine area of Touraine in which are being produced white
and red wines. The climate of this area offers good conditions for the cultivation
of Cabernet Franc for red wines. The most renowned areas for the production of red
wines are Chinon, Bourgueil and St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil. Red wines from Touraine
are generally produced with 100% Cabernet Franc or Gamay, however Cabernet Sauvignon,
Malbec (Côt) are also used. White wines in Touraine are produced from Chenin Blanc,
and the ones from the Vouvray appellation are exceptional.
Domaine du Boulay, FAVEROLLES
|Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and Central Vineyards Region
The central vineyards are located at the most eastern end of the Loire wine region
and ending round Nevers. The reason of this name is not because the area is located
at the centre of Loire Valley, but at the centre of France. The main grape in the
vineyards in this region is Sauvignon Blanc with the appellations of Sancerre and
Pouilly-Fumé producing world-renown examples.
Sancerre vineyard, out of Sancerre
FACTS ON GRAPE GROWING & WINE-MAKING in the LOIRE
Location:From the Massif Central to the Atlantic coast around Nantes.
The Loire wine region follows the Loire river in its valley
Size of the vineyards: 30,000 hectares
Production volume:over 400 million bottles (78% white wine)
Soil: Various: Clayey-limestone, limestone, siliceous and chalky soils
Weather:Predominantly oceanic in the west and Continental in the East of the Loire Valley.