The Loire Valley is the heart of France, famous for its natural beauty, magnificent châteaux and great wine. The region is rich in history and culture: Renaissance writer Rabelais was born here; Joan of Arc led French troops to victory in the Hundred Years’ War in the Loire; and, as the Cradle of the French Language, its residents speak the purest French.
The Loire Valley contains several distinct wine regions, each with its own characteristic grapes, appellations and styles.
The Pays Nantais, on the Atlantic coast of Brittany, near the city of Nantes has been producing wine since the Roman era. The region is known for Muscadet, (made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape and not related in any way to Muscat) the largest white wine appellation in France, and the ultimate crisp, dry seaside wine.
The ancient Duchy of Anjou was once a political power that rivaled the Kingdom of France for wealth and importance. Anjou produces many of the Loire Valley’s best sweet wines Bonnezeaux, Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume, all made from Chenin Blanc. Anjou is also home to Savennières, a fascinating dry Chenin Blanc, as well as excellent red Anjou (made from Cabernet Franc) and the very popular, off-dry Rosé d'Anjou.
Saumur is a picturesque city dominated by one of the most famous castles in France. The castle, like many of the great châteaux of the Loire Valley, is built with the same tuffeau limestone that underlies the vineyards of the region. Excavations left from building castles and palaces left hundreds of miles of underground tunnels that now serve as cellars for Fines Bulles®, the Chenin Blanc based sparkling wines of the Loire. Saumur also produces Saumur-Champigny, one of the Loire Valley's great Cabernet Franc red wines.
Touraine, sometimes called the “Garden of France.” was where kings and nobles built many of the chateaux that make the Loire Valley one of France’s most popular tourist destinations. Wine of the region include many famous appellations, including Vouvray, made from Chenin Blanc and Chinon, Bourgueil and St Nicolas de Bourgeuil, all made from Cabernet Franc. The Touraine appellation also includes excellent examples of Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay and Malbec (locally known as côt) that provide excellent quality with and competitive pricing
The Centre-Loire, as its name implies, is at the exact geographical center of France. Grapes have been grown here for at least 2,000 years. This is the original home of Sauvignon Blanc and of Sancerre the world’s most prestigious Sauvignon Blanc wine that sets international standards for the grape. Lesser known but equally fine examples include and Pouilly-Fumé, Menetou-Salon, Quincy and Reuilly. The region also produces excellent reds and rosé from Pinot Noir in Sancerre, Menetou-Salon, and Chateaumeillant.