Loire valley wine

The wines of the Loire Valley

Loire wines are produced along the riverbanks that run from the Atlantic to the Massif Central, following the course of the River Loire. This area specialises in white wines, but also produces young, light and fresh red wines. One of the characteristics of Loire wines is their good acidity, which gives them freshness and tension. The Loire Valley is a very large region, it is classified by areas: Nantes, Saumur, Anjou, Central France and Touraine.

History of Loire wine

The Romans were the first to plant vineyards on the Loire Valley river banks around the 1st century. Cultivation spread to other areas and there is even some evidence that the Bretons came to loot the area’s cellars.

Loire wines have enjoyed a good reputation for years, especially those from Sancerre, which are some of the most prized wines by the English and French.

Traditionally, Loire Valley wineries are small and family-run. However, during the 1990s the number of cooperatives and negociants increased, gaining a share in total production.

Grape varieties

The most cultivated white varieties in the Loire are Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and the so-called Melon de Bourgogne in the Muscadet region. Cabernet Franc and then Gamay are the most common red varieties.

Location, climate and soils

The Loire is the longest river in France. It starts in Gerbier-de-Jonc, in the Massif Central, and crosses 1020 km before reaching in the Atlantic.

The area is located in northern France, a naturally cool area. Thankfully, the river helps to balance the temperatures and helps the grapes to ripen properly.

However, being a large area, the climate is varied. Around Nantes the climate is oceanic and humid due to the proximity of the Atlantic. Further inland, in Sancerre and in the middle of the Loire Valley, the climate is semi-continental. This area has a higher and more frequent risk of frost. This region also has autumn rains, morning mists and midday heat, creating the ideal conditions for the extraordinary process of noble rot, allowing the production of some incredible naturally sweet wines. The best sweet wines in the Loire come from vines planted on shale soil.

These vineyards lie at a relatively low altitude. From 50 metres above sea level in the Anjou area, about 120 in Sancerre and almost 500 in Auvergne. The region’s predominant soils are diverse. There are shales and clays with a high limestone or flint content.

Loire wine classification

The Loire region is very large, so it is usually divided into three sub-regions:

-Upper Loire: The main regions here are Sanceerre and Puilly-Fumé. The Sauvignon Blanc variety is queen here.

-Middle Loire: the best-known regions here are Touraine, Saumur, Chinon and Vouvray. The predominant varieties are Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

-Lower Loire: mostly the Muscadet area, growing mainly the Melon de Bourgogne variety.

There are some denominations, however, that can include wines produced throughout the Loire Valley. Like the AOC Crémant de Loire. There is also the AOC Rosé de Loire which is used for rosés made in Anjou, Saumur and Touraine.

Some outstanding wineries in the Loire

François Crochet from the AOC Sancerre. Located in the town of Bué. He works biodynamically and is committed to minimal intervention. His vineyards lie in soils with a high silica content. His wines are refined and very fresh.

Sebastien Riffault is also a unique producer in Sancerre and works according to biodynamic principles, respecting biodiversity in the vineyard and producing natural wines, without added oenological products. He mainly works with Sauvignon Blanc.

Domaines Landron in the AOC Muscadet. A family winery that has been working organically for more than two decades and biodynamically since 2006. Their wines are known for their freshness and fineness as well as their mineral touches.

De Ladoucette, a very old winery, dating back to the 18th century and owned by Baron Patrick de Ladoucette. He makes wines in the AOC Sancerre and the AOC Pouilly-Fumé. These are some of the best wines in the region.

Domaine de Pallus, from the AOC Chinon. This winery is located in Cravant-les-Coteaux. It is run by the prestigious winemaker Bertrand Sourdais. He has also worked with other wineries in Dominio de Atauta. He cultivates mainly Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc following ecological and biodynamic principles.

Do you want to try the Loire’s fresh wines?

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Patapon Rouge 2020

France Vin de France (Loire)

A fresh, smooth wine to toast to the surprises destiny has for us
Patapon Rouge 2020
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Luneau Papin Le L d'Or 2021

France AOC Muscadet Sèvre et Maine (Loire)

Star cuvée by Luneau Papin
Luneau Papin Le L d'Or 2021
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Riffault Akméniné 2019

France AOC Sancerre (Loire)

A surprising dry white with fruity hints from the A.O.C. Sancerre
Riffault Akméniné 2019
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