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The Loire’s vineyards

The Loire’s vineyards run across several very diverse regions:

  • Around Nantes, Muscadet country

  • Around Angers, the Anjou-Saumur region

  • Around Tours, the Touraine wine region

  • In the Bourges area, the Central vineyards

A vast area taking in 12 ‘departments’. From west to east: Loire-Atlantique (depart. number 44 – capital Nantes), Vendée (85 – La Roche-sur-Yon), Deux-Sèvres (79 – Niort), Maine-et-Loire (49 – Angers), Sarthe (72 – Le Mans), Indre-et-Loire (37 - Tours), Vienne (86 – Poitiers), Indre (36 – Châteauroux), which is shaped like a vine leaf; Loir-et-Cher (41 – Blois), Loiret (45 – Orléans), Cher (18 – Bourges) and Nièvre (58 – Nevers).

Vines owe their existence in this area to Saint-Martin, who founded Marmoutier Abbey and was the Bishop of Tours around 380. It was the Loire, as an important waterway, that played a key role in wine exports and vineyard expansion.

With its variety of grapes, the Loire Valley makes all wine styles: reds (Bourgueil), sweet or dessert wines (Coteaux-du-Layon, Bonnezeaux, Montlouis) and fizz (Saumur, Vouvray, Montlouis).

From Angers to Orléans, 280 km of the Loire are listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Useful websites

Interloire (cross-regional wine body)

Vins de Loire (press info)

Growers’ blogs

http://closdenouysvinsdevouvray.viabloga.com/
http://www.domaine-laporte.com/blog/index.php4
http://domainesaurigny.over-blog.com/
http://domaine.papinerie.over-blog.com/
http://www.guillaumedescroix-blog.com/

 

 

In the Nantes and Ancenis area

 

The Nantes weather is strongly influenced by the ocean with high rainfall.

Appellation areas: Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne or Muscadet variety), Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine, Coteaux-d'Ancenis. Muscadet is one of the best matches for seafood.

Website
www.muscadet.org


Around Angers, Anjou-Saumur subregion

Appellation areas Coteaux-de-la-Loire, Anjou, Savennières, Quarts-de-Chaume, Bonnezeaux, Chaume, Coteaux-du-Layon, Saumur, Saumur-Champigny

The maritime climate is less marked as you head east.

Website
www.saumur-champigny.fr


Around Tours

The Touraine vineyards (Indre-et-Loire and Loir-et-Cher departments/regions) go from Bourgueil to Valencay and include the Sologne area.

Appellation areas: bourgueil, saint-nicolas-de-bourgueil, chinon, touraine-azay-le-rideau, jasnières (white wine made from Chenin Blanc, the closest vineyards to Le mans which explains why they go well with ‘rillettes’, a fatty pork terrine), coteaux-du-vendomois, cour-cheverny and cheverny in Sologne made from the romorantin grape), touraine-mesland, touraine-amboise, touraine-noble-joué, vouvray, montlouis, touraine, valencay.

With a slight maritime influence, winters are harsher.

Websites

- Chinon
- Bourgueil
and the Chenonceau site, historic château and wine producer: www.chenonceau.com

Must-see:

  • Monmousseau’s underground cellars

  • Amboise growers’ wine cellar

  • Montlouis: ‘maison des vins’ or wine shop, Domaines Taille aux loups and Chidaine (estates)

  • Old winegrowers houses in Vouvray

  • Les Loges old wine village

  • Vineyards of Rabelais country: Chinon, Clos de l'Echo’s vineyard

Around Bourges and Cosne-sur-Loire

The Central Vineyards have a continental climate: colder winters and hotter summers. King of grape varieties, Sauvignon Blanc rules in the appellation areas of sancerre (which goes well with the local goats’ cheese), pouilly-sur-loire (pouilly-fumé also from sauvignon), menetou-salon, quincy, reuilly.

Websites

Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins du Centre – umbrella trade association for the Central wine regions: sancerre, menetou-salon, quincy, Reuilly, coteaux-du-giennois, chateaumeillant, pouilly-fumé and pouilly-sur-loire.

www.maison-des-sancerre.com
www.pouilly-fume.com

VDQS - Vins de Pays

You’ll also come across these peripheral wine areas

  • Les Fiefs Vendéens in Vendée

  • Around Poitiers, the Haut-Poitou and Thouars vineyards

  • Châteaumeillant northwest of Montluçon

  • Côtes de Gien (Cosne-sur-Loire)

  • Wines from Orléan

Also vins de pays du Jardin de la France (literally ‘Garden of France country wines’), Coteaux du Cher and Arnon, Coteaux Charitois, Coteaux de Tannay.


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