The long ribbon of Loire Valley vineyards stretches for more than 800 km along the Royal River. From its source, in the Massif Central, to its estuary, the Loire is what links the third-largest vineyard region in France.
The region can be divided into 4 areas, each with its own specific features: the Nantes region, Anjou, Touraine and the Centre. Each of these areas is in turn made up of a mosaic of terroirs.
The Loire’s vineyards are in fact characterised by the immense diversity of its terroirs, which differ as much by the nature of their soils as by their climate, or by their slopes and their orientation. This regional patchwork has given rise to a very wide variety of wines (white wine, red wine, still or sparkling wine) which reflect the specific features of their land of origin and the know-how of the winegrowers.
The region, dotted with numerous royal châteaux, is also rich in a wine-growing tradition that dates back to the tenth century. The Loire is therefore a region where the art of winemaking is particularly well mastered. Several Loire wines have acquired an international reputation for their finesse and elegance.
Chinon, Bourgueil, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are appellations known the world over!
Each region of the Loire Valley has several appellations which all attest to the quality of the wines produced. The 4 appellations of the Nantes region, Muscadet, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire and Muscadet Côtes de Granlieu, are dry white wines.
In the Anjou region, the Anjou-Villages and Anjou-Villages Brissac appellations are reserved for quality red wines. In Anjou, you’ll also find excellent, particularly fragrant sweet wines with regional appellations: Coteaux de l’Aubance, Coteaux du Layon, Coteaux du Layon-villages and Quarts de Chaume.
There are also lots of appellations in the Saumur region. The Saumur appellation first of all brings together dry white wines of great finesse. The region also produces red wine under the Saumur-Champigny appellation, excellent sparkling wine under the Saumur Mousseux and Crémant de Loire appellation, as well as a sweet wine under AOC Coteaux de Saumur.
Several prestigious Loire wines come from the vineyards of Touraine. The communal appellations Chinon, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Bourgueil delight wine lovers with their red wines which are both supple and fruity. Touraine also produces excellent-quality white wines under the Montlouis and Vouvray appellations. Finally, the Centre is the cradle of white wines of great finesse in AOC Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and Pouilly-sur-Loire.
The diversity of Loire wines has its roots in a wide variety of terroirs. Each wine-growing region is characterised by soils of a different nature and specific climatic conditions. The oceanic climate with its mild winters and cool, humid summers bathes the Nantes region.
The vineyards, which mainly grow the Muscadet and Folle Blanche grape varieties, thrive in its rolling landscapes on schist and granite soils which are sometimes loamy.
Anjou and the Saumur region also enjoy an oceanic climate which gradually becomes semi-oceanic towards the east. The annual variations in temperature and rainfall can thus become more marked than on the coast. The nature of the soils in its two regions is very diverse. The chalky soils of Saumur, also called Anjou Blanche, rub shoulders with the schist soils of Anjou Noire.
The great variability of soils in the Saumur and Anjou regions are beneficial to the optimal development of a large number of grape varieties: Chenin, Sauvignon, Cabernet and Cabernet Franc. Varieties that go into the making of red, white and rosé wines. Further east, the valleys and slopes of Touraine enjoy weather conditions halfway between an oceanic and a continental climate.
The soils are variable in nature, sometimes limestone, sandy even with flint clays. They offer favourable conditions for growing grape varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Chenin, Sauvignon or Gamay.
Finally, the most easterly of the Loire vineyards, located in the central region, and covering AOC Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumée, thrives on typical Jurassic soils (siliceous or flint pebbles, sandstone) in a semi-continental climate. The dominant grape variety used is Sauvignon for white Loire wines of remarkable quality.
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