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Loire

Praised for its stately Renaissance-era chateaux ...

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Praised for its stately Renaissance-era chateaux, the picturesque Loire valley produces pleasant wines of just about every style. Just south of Paris, the appellation lies along the river of the same name and stretches from the Atlantic coast to the center of France.

The Loire can be divided into three main growing areas, from west to east: the Lower Loire, Middle Loire, and Upper/Central Loire. The Pay Nantais region of the Lower Loire—farthest west and closest to the Atlantic—has a maritime climate and focuses on the Melon de Bourgogne variety, which makes refreshing, crisp, aromatic whites.

The Middle Loire contains Anjou, Saumur and Touraine. In Anjou, Chenin Blanc produces some of, if not the most, outstanding dry and sweet wines with a sleek, mineral edge and characteristics of crisp apple, pear and honeysuckle. Cabernet Franc dominates red and rosé production here, supported often by Grolleau and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sparkling Crémant de Loire is a specialty of Saumur. Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc are common in Touraine as well, along with Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay and Malbec (known locally as Côt).

The Upper Loire, with a warm, continental climate, is Sauvignon Blanc country, home to the world-renowned appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Pinot Noir and Gamay produce bright, easy-drinking red wines here.

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    Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume 2010
    Chenin Blanc from Anjou, Loire, France
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    Domaine Vincent Careme Vouvray Le Clos 2010
    Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, France
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    Domaine Pichot Vouvray Coteau de la Biche 2010
    Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, France
    • W&S91
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    Domaine des Baumard Carte d'Or Coteaux du Layon 2010
    Chenin Blanc from Loire, France
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    • WS93
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    Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet Sevre et Maine Clisson 2010
    Melon de Bourgogne from Pays Nantais, Loire, France
    • W&S93
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    Ladoucette Pouilly-Fume 2010
    Sauvignon Blanc from Pouilly-Fume, Loire, France
    • W&S92
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    Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume (375ML half-bottle) 2010
    Chenin Blanc from Anjou, Loire, France
    • WS96
    • WE94
    • W&S94
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