It's unfortunate that this region is so under appreciated and overlooked - the wines from the Loire Valley are outstanding. They are delicious examples of varietal and soil expression and the wide range of wines is so refreshing. Dry, sweet, sparkling, red, white… all represented here in the Loire. The main white grapes are Chenin Blanc
, Muscadet and Sauvignon Blanc
. For reds, Cabernet Franc
takes center stage but the region also has plantings of Pinot Noir
. The AC of Cremant de Loire is popular – these are the sparkling wines of the Loire, usually made with Chenin Blanc.
As for which grapes you find in which regions… Starting on the Atlantic Coast and moving east - Muscadet hails from the region of the same name, within the larger Nantes district, right on the Atlantic coast. The wines are dry, citrusy and pleasant, but rarely powerful or intensely aromatic. Just inland from Nantes is Anjou-Samur, home to Savennières, an excellent source of dry Chenin Blanc. To the east is Touraine, where you'll find the popular white region of Vouvray - Chenin Blanc shines in Vouvray, which can be dry, off-dry or sweet – the majority of those found in the states are a lovely and food-friendly off-dry. In the same district, Cabernet Franc makes delicious, delicate and elegant reds from Bourguil and Chinon. Finally, in the Upper Loire area, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé turn out Sauvignon Blancs of razor sharp acidity and minerality.