The 4 outstanding regions of Loire Valley

The 4 outstanding regions of Loire Valley

With its 68 AOC, the Loire valley is a source of some of the greatest white wines. Ignored for a while, the prices have been quite low and remain very reasonable and the production have increased the quality of the wines.  Divided in 4 main regions, the wide region of Loire is the longest in France, extending on 800km and offering a tremendous diversity of terroirs. But the wines still have a common characteristic: an impressive and enjoyable acidity. Producing white wines as a majority, the Loire valley also produces quite good red wines. The grapes for the white are mainly the “melon de Bourgogne”, the sauvignon blanc and chenin while the red grapes are the cabernet franc, the pinot noir and the gamay. The region is currently called the “garden of France” due to the incredible biodiversity. And the vines are great representative of this nickname. A significant impulse by new wine-makers is making biodynamic wines more and more famous.
The 4 outstanding regions of Loire Valley
The 4 outstanding regions of Loire Valley

Le Pays Nantais

Beginning at the estuary of Nantes and ending at the village of Ingrandes, this part of the Loire region is reputed for being the kingdom of the Muscadet. With the melon de Bourgogne as the main grape, the Muscadet was not very famous before the 1970’s. But now, since the good chefs decided to award it as THE wine to pair with oysters or other seafood, the wine has become worldly famous.

The little saline character of the Muscadet matches very well with the iodic aspect of the seafood. Additionally, reputed seafood is breed not far from the Muscadet region. Go on the coastline and taste this perfect pairing with a view on the sea. Most of the wines are vinified on lies. But more and more players of the region are fighting to obtain more complex wines with similar methods as Burgundy. This is always the beginning of the great road to success and fine wines.

Anjou

The Anjou region is not only representing the Anjou appellation. As a famous partner, Saumur is playing a very good role. These appellations are synonym of Chenin blanc, here called Pineau de Loire. Before known worldwide for its sweet wines, the region produces incredible dry wines for a while now. It can last for a long time in your cellar. The Coteaux-du-Layon with Quarts-de-Chaume and Bournezaux are a great example of what can age well in your cellar. Savennières, an appellation located at the north of the Loire river, is oriented to the south, which gives very good dry white wines. And this can last in cellar too.

The Anjou AOC (appellation with controlled origin) is historically the finest appellation of the region for its sweet wines. But now, it also produces some gems in terms of dry white wines. The cabernet franc is dominating the valley for the reds and rosé and Anjou produces great wines in the region. The Saumur AOC is reputed for its 3 types of wine. With a consequent acidity, the players of the region understood that it could be worked as the Champagne. And tasty wines are emerging from these players. Ageing in the tuffeau lime stone cellars, you can find high quality wines.

grape of chenin blanc, Wines and Castles: must-know about the Loire valley
The 4 outstanding regions of Loire Valley

Touraine

Chinon & Bourgueil

St Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Chinon are probably the best wines of Tourraine and even Loire. With the Cabernet Franc as spotlighted, the majority of wines share a fruity and fresh characteristics and a little astringency. It can easily last for a 10-year minimum for the good ones. Chinon is a tender and silky wine and once competed with the Margaux wines. And it still can compete! The soils are quite diversified so wines can be different from one producer to another one. But it still has a great identity thanks to its constant rise. For other red wines from the region, you can find some of the greatest interpretation of the Gamay grape with a fruity character with bright aspects.

Vouvray & Montlouis-sur-Loire

Here stand the most prestigious and sumptuous castles of the region. Main place of the Renaissance era and favorite place of François 1er, this territory produces white wines as incredible as the architecture can be. If you want to know a little bit more, check our article about wines and castles. The acidulous notes are mixing with some honey are the greatest expressions of the Chenin blanc, reigning over the different appellations. Vouvray is one of the most diversified AOC of Loire. Doing white wines from sparkling to dry and sweet wines, the players of the region are ageing this jewels in the famous cellars. And it ages well! Less known, the AOC Montlouis-sur-Loire have the same terroirs than Vouvray. But the best Vouvray are very well exposed and benefit from a good proximity with the Loire.

Centre Loire

This is the littlest region of the four. It is separated in 8 appellations. The most known is Sancerre. The terroirs give some of the best expressions of Sauvignon Blanc. The Pinot Noir in some places gives wines which compete some good wines from Burgundy for equivalent price barely. Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé (do not confuse with Pouilly-Fuissé from Burgundy) share the same soils characteristics. But Sancerre has a little bit more diversity in terms of terroirs. Some good wine-makers are producing top Sancerre which can last for a long time but most of the wines from the appellation must be drunk only 2 years after their production. By the way, the village of Chavignol, reputed for its goat cheeses! To know a little bit more about wine and cheese pairing, come and read our article about it! Some other famous AOC are located in this region such as Reuilly, Quincy, Menetou-Salon and you will find some precious Pinot Noir!
Tourism in Loire valley along the Loire valley for a luxury wine day tour from Paris
The Loire Valley is not only represented by these 4 regions but they are the main ones. You can find some pretty interesting wines in each part of the Loire Valley. You have to know that some wine are produced ahead in Loire Valley such as Saint-Pourçain, known as a wine of the king for a moment, it clearly collapsed before rising another time. If you want to discover more things about Loire Valley, read our article about the top reasons to visit the region. And if you want to discover the region and its players, we would be pleased to welcome you during a wine day tour from Paris!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.