Loire Valley wine
The Loire Valley is a region that runs from east to west in the north west of France, following the Loire river on its journey to the Atlantic coast. The region is responsible for some of the best-known white wines in France, including Muscadet to the west of the region and Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume to the east. Between those east and west extremes you will find Anjou, famous for its Rose wines, along with Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur and Vouvray. In total there are 87 appellations in the region and Loire Valley wine is justly renowned for its quality.
The character of Loire Valley wine
While most of the famous Loire Valley wines are white, the region also produces some excellent reds. For the most part, these come from the Chinon region, using Cabernet Franc grapes. The whites, meanwhile, are generally made from Sauvignon Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne and Chenin Blanc. There are also many sparkling Loire Valley wines and the area is second only to Champagne as the largest producer of sparkling wines in France. As a general rule, Loire Valley wines tend to be fruity, fresh and crisp. The region has been making wines since Roman times and exceeded even Bordeaux in popularity in both England and France during the Middle Ages.
The role of geography in Loire Valley wine
Many guides divide the Loire Valley into three regions, that of the Upper Loire, the Middle Loire and the Lower Loire. In the Upper Loire, to the east of the valley, we find lots of Sauvignon Blanc being grown, which is used in the famous Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wines. In the Middle Loire, we find more Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc in the wines being grown around Chinon, Saumur, Vouvray and Touraine. As the Loire heads to the Atlantic in the Lower Loire, we find that the Melon de Bourgogne grapes dominate and the area is widely known for its glorious Muscadet.
Reviewing Alsace wines
The Loire Valley is clearly a major wine region and home to some of France's best wines. Using the Gilbert & Gaillard wine guide will help wine lovers navigate their way down the valley, selecting the best wines from these famous vineyards. With a simple rating system and helpful tasting notes, the wine lover will be able to choose wines that match both their budget and their palette, thus enjoying these luscious wines to their full.