Wines of the Loire Valley
First occupied by the Romans as far back as 52BC, there’s little surprise that the Loire Valley went on to achieve great things viticulturally. It was the influence of the early Roman settlers and the introduction of vines to the fertile lands of the area that would see this region become one of France’s – and the world’s – leading producers of both red and white wines, and export them around the globe.
It would be remiss, therefore, to undertake a journey through the Loire Valley without investing the time to discover what has made the fruity and crisp wines of the region so prestigious, and the legacy of acclaimed wine houses so revered.
Crisp white wines
Divided into three regions – the Upper, Middle, and Lower Loire sections – the many wines of the Loire Valley benefit from distinct personalities, with each grape variety offering a bouquet of flavours that reflect the terroir. The crisp, fruity whites such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé will satisfy those who prefer dry wines, while aromatic options made with Chenin Blanc are sure to charm fans of richer or sweet wines.
Light, fruity reds
It may well be that the white wines of the Loire Valley reap the lion’s share of worldwide praise, but there is no shortage of quality red wines to savour from some the area’s finest wineries. The regions surrounding Chinon and Bourgeil dominate the red wine production of the Loire Valley, utilising the Carbernet Franc grape – known locally as Breton – which presents raspberry notes on the palate. Unlike most reds, the fruity wines of the Loire are often enjoyed chilled and complement barbecued meats perfectly.
With 87 appellations under the AOC, VDQS, and Vin de Pays systems, the Loire Valley wines command respect and approval from both connoisseurs and laymen. Subtle and structured, they offer a finesse that is too often lacking in their new world cousins.