Wines and the Loire = Pleasure!!!

If you have read my posts, you know I am a wine enthusiast of many many years and have diplomas from both France and Spain on wine knowledge courses. I do not write enough on wines as it is a heavy duty task and with many subjective tones; I like to stick to the easy subjects.

Valley of the Loire

Valley of the Loire wines

And here is something at you ! If you drank a new wine each night, it would take 8 years to drink your way through France. Lol!!

Well let’s give an overview of the wines of the Loire valley , of course you know it would be impossible to cover all in one post even if just one region of France. See phrase above!

The Loire Valley  has about 65 383 hectares of vineyards or about 161 561 acres. It is home to more than 4000 wineries producing an array of wine styles and colors from racy whites to refreshing rosés and fruit over force reds while sumptuous sweet and sparkling wines  It is here in the garden of France that you can reveling beautiful summer days, stunning Castles, and several of France’s most underrated wines. Today it has 69 AOP designations which make up about 75% of the wine production. The Loire river valley  runs from Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc to Nantes is more than 1000 km long (about 609 miles), and together with its tributaries represent the longest wine region of France.

Some of it’s famous grape varieties are the Sauvignon  Blanc  a lean herbal style with flavors of thyme, lime peel, honeydew melon, and grass. Wines are labeled  Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Touraine, Reuilly, Quincy and Cheverny (for classic 100% Sauvignon Blanc). There is the Chenin Blanc in the middle Loire Valley that range in style from dry to sweet and still sparkling. Flavors are from notes of flowers and apricots from Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire to rich applesauce flavor from aged Savennières. Go into my favorites the Muscadet whites, the perfect match for fish and shellfish; wines are bone try with subtle notes of sea shell, lime, green apple and pear skin.  The Muscadet Sévre et Maine is the most and best appellation of the area. You do get red from the Cabernet Franc, a very herbaceous and rustic style but simple light nice with spicy notes of bell pepper, tart red cherry and stony mineral; look for labels from Chinon and Bourgueil.  Other used grapes are the Melon de Bourgogne (here call Muscadet), Folle Blanche found in Gros Plant de Pays Nantais AOP; the Pinot Gris.

The sub regions are: Anjou, Centre, Muscadet, Orléanais, Saumurois and Touraine. It, also , has many regional denominated areas or appellations such as :Crémant-de-Loire, Rosé-de-Loire, Vin de Pays d’Indre-et-Loire, Vin de Pays d’Urfé, Vin de Pays de Creuse , Vin de Pays de Haute-Vienne, Vin de Pays de l’Allier, Vin de Pays de l’Indre , Vin de Pays de la Sarthe, Vin de Pays de la Vienne, Vin de Pays de Loire-Atlantique , Vin de Pays de Vendée, Vin de Pays des Coteaux Charitois, Vin de Pays des Coteaux de Tannay , Vin de Pays des Coteaux du Cher et de l’Arnon, Vin de Pays des Deux-Sèvres , Vin de Pays du Bourbonnais, Vin de Pays du Cher, Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France , Vin de Pays du Loir et Cher, Vin de Pays du Loiret, Vin de Pays du Maine et Loire , Vin de Pays du Puy de Dôme, and Vin de Pays du Val de Loire. Now you might know why is difficult to write in details in one blog ! The above are very simple inexpensive wines that can be good depending on the producer.

We will cover in general the main regions such as the:

AOC Anjou, located around the city of Angers in the department of Maine-et-Loire, to the west of the Touraine region. The vineyards extends to both sides of the Loire river to the mouth of the Vienne river in Ancenis . The area extends for about 9000 hectares or 2471 acres; and compose of 27 appellations producing light rosés, dry whites, and light or medium reds wines. The grapes use here are for the rosé and red the cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon , and the grolleau, for the whites are the chenin, sauvignon, and chardonnay. They do a number of sub regions as well these are the Anjou, Anjou Mousseux, Anjou Pétillant, Anjou-Coteaux-de-la-Loire, Anjou-Gamay, Anjou-Villages, Anjou-Villages Brissac, Bonnezeaux, Cabernet-d’Anjou, Chaume 1er cru des Coteaux-du-Layon, Coteaux-d’Ancenis, Coteaux-de-l’Aubance, Coteaux-du-Layon, Coteaux-du-Loir, Jasnières, Quarts-de-Chaume, Rosé d’Anjou, Rosé d’Anjou pétillant, Savennières, Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant, Savennières-Roche-aux-Moines, and Vin-du-Thouarsais.

If you are looking for my recommendation generally speaking ,I will have them in black throughout the post. These are my choices in the general area, the main thing here is to find the good producers in all.

The next sub region of the Loire are the Centre-Loire located south east of the Paris Basin. The area is difficult to determine here as it is cutoff into smaller parcels and isolated. The area is ideal for the sauvignon that gives the white wines and the pinot noir for the reds less known. The appellation for this sub region are : Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, Châteaumeillant, Côte-Roannaise, Coteaux-du-Giennois, Côtes-d’Auvergne, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Boudes, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Chanturgue, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Châteaugay, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Corent, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Madargues, Côtes-du-Forez, Menetou-Salon, Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-sur-Loire, Quincy, Reuilly, Saint-Pourçain, and Sancerre.

We move in closer to me, and my best. This is the sub region of the AOC Muscadet, occupying an area south of Nantes from the lake of Grand-Lieu to Ancenis, with a point to the south in Vendée ( near town of Saint-Etienne-du-Bois). It covers an area of 11 900 hectares or about 29406 acres), and extended to different terroirs along the banks of the Loire. The grape for this region is the melon de Bourgogne, a very low production grape that gives a white wine to drink young and very good with the fish/seafood platters. Some of them are done with the conservation of the fine Lies which are my favorites, and provides more complex aromas and vivacity of freshness to give more grease and roundness to the wine.

The number of sub regions of Muscadet are : Fiefs-Vendéens-Brem, Fiefs-Vendéens-Mareuils, Fiefs-Vendéens-Pissotte, Fiefs-Vendéens-Vix, Gros-plant du Pays nantais, Muscadet, Muscadet-Coteaux-de-la-Loire, Muscadet-Côtes-de-Grandlieu, and Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine.

We come now to the sub region of Touraine . The area here is about 13 000 hectares or about 32134 acres) producing more than 700 000 hectoliters per year (about 18,5 m gallons US) in the cellars dug in the cliffs of the region. The principal grape here for the red and the rosés is the gamay, with the addition of the cabernet franc and pinot noir. The whites are done from chenin, and cabernet-sauvignon. The dry whites are generally light and fresh, the reds light fruity and the rosés medium. There is a production of sparklers call mousseux done in red, white ,and rosé as well.

The sub regions here are : Bourgueil, Cheverny, Chinon, Coteaux-du-Vendômois, Cour-Cheverny, Haut-Poitou, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Montlouis-sur-Loire Mousseux, Montlouis-sur-Loire Pétillant, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Touraine, Touraine_ Chenonceaux, Touraine Mousseux, Touraine Pétillant, Touraine-Amboise (love it), Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau, Touraine-Mesland, Touraine-Noble-Joué, Valençay, Vouvray, Vouvray Mousseux, and Vouvray Pétillant.

The next sub region is that of the Saumurois (Saumur) on the left bank of the Loire river south east of Angers. The area has about 1 500 hectares in hilly terrain just east of the hills of Anjou and of Layon. The production is about 85 000 hectoliters (about 2,2 million gallons US) per year with exceptional red wines and whites of interest; both very good. The principal grapes are the chenin for the whites and the cabernet franc and cabernet-sauvignon for the reds. Very good inexpensive sparklers are done here for the whites.

The sub regions here are: Cabernet-de-Saumur,Coteaux-de-Saumur,Saumur,Saumur Mousseux,Saumur Pétillant,Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame, and Saumur-Champigny.

Finally but not saying least are the AOC Orléans located around Orléans, of course. The area has 150 hectares located on both side of the Loire river, more uniform on the left bank and the total production is about 5 200 hectoliters per year. The Orléans-Cléry AOC is of reds from the cabernet franc only . The area has 25 hectares and the vineyards are located between the Loire river and the forest of the Sologne.

There you have it in a nutshell. The wonderful Loire Valley of France. It is a lot more than castles and kingdoms; the wines flows beautifully as the Loire river. Enjoy it as I do, it is our house wine of many labels.

I will put up a couple pictures of these properties the ones I buy direct, and will post a few of the pictures here.

Clisson Limeray Limeray

In a couple of weeks ,I will be going to the gastronomy and wine fair in Vannes that I do every year and will have more surprises. Enjoy your week, we are almost there for the weekend. Cheers!

ps. As a footnote two publication I get all I need to know about wines in France. One is at the bottom of my blogroll here La Revue du Vin de France magazine, webpage here: http://www.larvf.com/,vins-rouge-blanc-rose-vignoble-vallee-de-la-loire-muscadet-saumur-sancerre,10355,4025942.asp

And the other one is the newspaper Le Figaro Vin or wine section, loaded in Franch of course.Webpage here: http://avis-vin.lefigaro.fr/connaitre-deguster/tout-savoir-sur-le-vin/guide-des-regions-et-des-appellations/vallee-de-la-loire

One Comment to “Wines and the Loire = Pleasure!!!”

  1. I love the Loire wines. Enjoy your food and wine fair.

    Liked by 1 person

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