Learning With EWGA Wines - Loire Valley

Learning With EWGA Wines - Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is perhaps the most varied French wine region, as it stretches from the centre of France all the way to its western coast where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. Half of its wine production is focussed on white wines using mostly Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. However, it is also the second biggest AOC region for rose wine production behind Provence and the biggest AOC region for sparkling wines - excluding Champagne

 

The reason for all this diversity is the length of the Loire river, which is the longest river in France at over 600 miles long. At the upper part of the river, the often overlooked Auvergne region produces mostly fruity and refreshing red wines from Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes. The climate there is continental and the soil is what you would expect from its foothills and low mountains. 

 

The Central Loire is located right in the geographical-middle of France and is home to the Sancerre appellation - the world's most prestigious Sauvignon Blanc producing region. You will also see some Pinot Noir red wines here due to its proximity to Burgundy

 

What lies between the coastal region of the Loire Valley and the aforementioned Central Loire is the Middle Loire made up of the Anjou, Saumur and Touraine. Here, the vineyards are dominated by the Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc grapes. The Middle Loire is also where the diversity of wines is perhaps the greatest. Anjou produces great rose wines, which account for half of the region's production. Sweet Chenin Blancs can also be found here. And, of course, the sparkling wines such as Cremant de Loire or various Saumur's sparkling wines - the district's most significant product.

 

Finally, in the Lower Loire or Pays Nantais vineyards is once again all about the white wines. The Atlantic Oceans' proximity and the maritime climate of the area make the ultimate crisp, dry seaside white wines. Muscadet is the largest white wine appellation in France, and the wines there are made exclusively from the Melon de Bourgogne grapes. 

 loire valley wines interactive maps

 

The Loire Valley Wines official website prepared a great resource to paint a better picture of the region. You can browse and discover the specificities and the diversity of all major appellations. Have a look for yourself: https://www.vinsvaldeloire.fr/en/vineyard-map#

  

Historically, the first vines in the region were planted in what we now know as Pays Nantais by the Romans over 2000 years ago. Next developments happened around the 5th century when new vineyards were planted further upstream of the Loire river. From the 12th century to the 18th century, the growth and economy of winemaking in the region were closely tied to the monarchs and the upper-classes. Heads of France and England promoted the Loire wines and spread their fame. Later, the bourgeoise took the baton and the popularity of the Loire wines blossomed until the French Revolution which greatly troubled Loire Valley vineyards. In 2000, a large part of the region was recognised as the UNESCO World Heritage Site for their rich cultural heritage and beautiful landscapes. 

For those who prefer video formats and only have 120 seconds to spare, the Loire Valley Wine made this fast-paced introductory video of the region along with some fun-facts. Check it out:

 

 

 

 

Check out our selection of wines from the Loire Valley wine region here.

If you would like to list wines from this fantastic region in your restaurant, hotel or shop simply get in touch. You can reach us on 01524 737 100 or email wine@ewga.net

 

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