01 November 2019 by Jessica Boston
Discover the wine regions of the Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is one of the most famous wine producing area in the world! It’s UNESCO protected and, as well as miles of vineyards, the area is home to majestic chateaux and gorgeous countryside making it the ideal destination for your next holiday.
There are 5 main wine regions set along the Loire River, each offering a different style of wine according to the terroir, grapes and traditional techniques used. There are exceptional wines to please any palate; enjoy old favourites and well known names, or be adventurous with a guided wine tasting session where you can discover something new.
Pays Nantais – the Muscadet region
The first region, Pays Nantais covers the area where the Loire River meets the Atlantic Coast of Brittany. Wine has been produced here near the port city of Nantes since Roman times! The most famous wine produced here is Muscadet, a crisp, dry white made from Melon de Bourgogne grapes that makes an excellent partner to fish and seafood. There are three different appellations to try; Muscadet Sevre et Maine which accounts for 80% of all Muscadet, Muscadet Coteaux de Loire which tends to more mineral, flint like flavours, and Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu from the microclimate around Grandlieu lake which exhibits more floral notes.
Anjou – for more than just rosé
Covering the Duchy of Anjou, a historic seat of political power and wealth, the Anjou wine producers create a number of excellent red, white and rose wines. Rose d’Anjou is possibly the best known, this off-dry pale pink wine balances sweetness and freshness for a pleasant flavour that’s delicious as an aperitif or paired with light fish or vegetable dishes. Other stars of the Anjou region are earthy, fruity red wines made from Cabernet Franc grapes and the distinctive Savennieres white wine which uses Chenin Blanc grapes to create a full bodied, minerally flavour with hints of pear, pineapple and honey.
Saumur – a sparkling success
Saumur is the smallest of the Loire Valley wine regions and wine production here is centered on delicious sparkling wines. Made from a blend of grape varieties and matured for a minimum of 12 months these wines are a sophisticated choice that’s perfect for a celebration. Crémant de Loire comes in a characteristically bright, dry white, or a more gentle rosé exhibiting fruity notes of strawberry and cherry. If you enjoy Cava or Prosecco you may find Saumur fizz is your new favourite!
Touraine – vines amongst the chateaux
Touraine is the ‘Garden of France’ and the setting for most of the opulent, famous chateaux built in the Loire. It’s also home to a wide selection of delicious wines. Bourgeuil and Chinon, earthy reds made with Cabernet Franc grapes, aromatic Vouvray made from Chenin Blanc grapes, and refreshing, mineral-dry Touraine white wines are just a few of the options you can try. A wine tasting at one of the many vineyards here is highly recommended to appreciate the huge range of styles and flavours made in the area.
Centre-Loire – home of Sauvignon Blanc
The Centre-Loire region is a showcase for the clean, bright, citrus favours of world class Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes have been cultivated here for over 2,000 years and the most famous name in the region, Sancerre, is synonymous with elegance, quality and excellence. Lesser known variations based on the Sancerre theme include Pouilly Fumé, Reuilly and Quincy; a tasting session to appreciate the nuances between these wines made from the same grape, in the same region is a treat for any conneussier.
Whether you consider yourself a bit of an expert or simply enjoy a nice glass of wine with your meal a trip to the Loire really is a must; choose one of our self-catering cottages in the region and plan a break as a couple or with friends and family. A wine holiday in the Loire is fun at any time of year with the different seasons giving insight into different stages of grape growing and harvesting. Just don’t forget to pack light – you’ll need plenty of space in the car to bring back your cases of ‘souvenirs’!