All You Need to Know About Loire Valley Wineries
Located in central France, Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its gorgeous landscape and chateaux. Loire Valley is home to world-famous vineyards stretching along the 1000km route. The valley is famous for its wines, castles, architecture, and several historic towns such as Blois, Amboise, Chinon, and more. Loire Valley played an important part during the Renaissance time period and has seen many wars due to its strategic location. In the past couple of years, this valley has become an important historic landmark and is famous for its wineries around the world.
Loire Valley Wineries
The longest wine route in the country, Loire Valley wineries can be found from Nantes to Sancerre along the Loire River. Loire Valley is divided into four regions – Anjou, Saumur, Pays Nantais, Touraine, and Centre-Loire. It has 87 appellations and 7000 vineyards that produce 400 million bottles of wine every year. This makes it the third-largest wine-producing region in France. Out of over 1000 Loire Valley vineyards open to the public, 400 are accredited wine cellars. Here, you can taste the wines and meet the celebrated winemakers.
Why Are Loire Valley Wines So Famous?
- Loire wine region has 5 regions – Nantes, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, and Centre-Loire. Each region is unique and produces its own style of wine.
- Loire Valley is the second-largest producer of sparkling wine in France and makes Cremant using the traditional methods.
- Loire Valley wineries are best-known for producing fruity-style white wines Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. They have a distinct fruity flavor and aroma that attracts consumers from all over the world.
- France’s AOC regulates the quality of Loire Valley wines, which ensures top-notch taste and presentation of the wines.
History Of Loire Valley Wineries
The history of the Loire wine region is closely linked to the history of France. Archaeologist evidence suggests that the Romans planted the first vineyards in Loire Valley over 2,000 years ago. Although its existence was popularized in the 1st century, wine-growing truly took off in the 5th century. From the 9th to the 12th century, monks played a major role in the development of the vineyards. Later, the kings and royals in this region helped in popularizing the wines by serving them in court and exporting them to other cities and countries. The vineyards suffered a major setback during the winter of 1709 and the French revolution. Once the problems subsided, the vineyards were back, and the focus was on producing quality wines. In 2000, the valley between Chalonnes-sur-Loire and Sully-sur-Loire was considered a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Facts Of Loire Valley Wineries
- The Loire Valley is the third largest appellation region in France. It is also the largest producer of white wine and the second-largest producer of sparkling and rose wine in the country.
- Loire Valley vineyards between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire have been designated the title of UNESCO World Heritage site.
- There are over 6000 vineyards here, out of which over 1000 are open for public visits and wine tours.
- Loire Valley has over 24 grape varieties, including the famous ones such as Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon, Gamay, and more.
- 400 accredited wine cellars are available in this region that offers guided wine tasting and cellar tours to visitors.
- The first Loire Valley vineyards were planted over 2000 years ago by the Romans.
Influence Of Geography & Climate On Loire Valley Wineries
Loire Valley vineyards are influenced by different climates, soils, and geographical conditions. The different types of soils such as clay, sand, slate, sandstone, etc., play an important role in determining the type of grape variety that can be grown in a region. The Loire River also influences the microclimates of Loire Valley wineries. The river increases the temperature that allows the grapes to grow in the north and south Loire Valley that are unfavorable to viticulture. The vines start growing in the spring season when the temperature is cool with the chances of frost. In summers, the vines grow and flourish rapidly, and by autumn, they are ready to be harvested.
Loire Valley Wineries In Different Seasons
The harvesting process is complete in the winter season, and winegrowers start pruning their vines. This continues till March while at the same time fermentation is complete for the wines in the cellar. The cellar master blends the wines ready for drinking and racks the reds to age well. The wines from Touraine and Anjou Gamay regions are bottled in the last week of November, and several wine festivals are held in the region around this time.
Springs marks the new cycle of growth in Loire Valley vineyards, where the vines gradually progress. Once the fruit-set stage is achieved, the winegrowers add support for the vines. Many white and rose wines are bottled and ready to be shipped, while a few structured wines are bottled before summer. A few vintage wines continue to age.
Winegrowers work on the vines to improve their quality and remove the unripe fruits to get rid of surplus branches. The vines stop growing after the berries change color and harden a little by August. This season is the time to get the wine cellars ready for the new harvest.
This marks the beginning of the harvesting process, which depends a lot on the ripeness of the vine and the weather. Loire Valley wineries are in full swing at this time. Wine cellar masters bring in the grapes, destem and press them, and start the fermentation process. It is the most exhausting time for the winemakers.
Loire Valley Wine Regions
Loire wine region is the longest wine region in France that is home to over 87 appellations. The valley is divided into three regions: Upper Loire, Middle Loire, and Lower Loire. It is the largest producer of white wine, the second-largest producer of sparkling wine, and the third-largest producer of wine in France. A few signature wines of this region are Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and more.
Pay Nantes near Nantes city has been a wine-producing region since the Roman era. Known for mostly producing white wine, this region is famous for Muscadet. Muscadet is made from Melon de Bourgogne grapes and is the largest white wine appellation in France.
Other appellations found here include Coteaux d’Ancenis, Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, Muscadet Sevre et Maine, and Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu.
Anjou wine region, located in Middle Loire, is best known for rose wines. This region produces the best sweet wines including Quarts de Chaume, Coteaux du Layon, and Bonnezeaux made from Chenin Blanc. Savennieres (dry Chenin Blanc), red Anjou (made from Cabernet Franc), and Rose d’Anjou are the specialty of this region.
Appellations: Anjou, Anjou Coteaux de la Loire, Anjou Mousseux, Anjou Villages, Anjou Villages Brissac, Cabernet d’Anjou, Bonnezeaux, Coteaux de l'Aubance, Coteaux du Layon, Coteaux du Layon Villages, Coteaux du Loir, Crémant de Loire (Anjou), Jasnières, Savennières, Sweet Wines of Anjou, Quarts de Chaume, Rosé d’Anjou, and Rosé de Loire.
Saumur is the third largest sparkling wine appellation in France. In this region, underground tunnels have been excavated from the castles and palace buildings that currently serve as wine cellars. Fines Bulles, based on Chenin Blanc, and Saumur-Champigny, based on Cabernet Franc, are the two specialties of this region.
Appellations: Cabernet de Saumur, Coteaux de Saumur, Saumur, Saumur Blanc, Saumur Brut, Samur Brut Rose, Saumur-Champigny, and Crémant de Loire (Saumur)
Known as the Garden of France, Touraine is home to many famous chateaux. The famous wines produced here include Vouvray (made from Chinon and Chenin Blanc), Bourgueil, and St Nicolas de Bourgueil (both made from Cabernet Franc). You will also find excellent tastings of Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Malbec here.
Appellations: Bourgueil, Chinon, Crémant de Loire (Touraine), Montlouis-sur-Loire, St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Touraine, Touraine Cot, Touraine Amboise, Touraine Azay-le Rideau, Touraine Mesland, Touraine Mousseux, Touraine Noble Joué, and Vouvray.
Located in the center of France, Centre-Loire has been producing grapes for thousands of years. This region is known for the world-famous Sancerre’s Sauvignon Blanc. Apart from that, the region is also known for producing reds and rose wines from Pinot Noir.
Other appellations found here are Quincy, Menetou-Salon, Coteaux du Giennois, Reuilly, Chateaumeillant, and Pouilly-Fumé.
Popular Loire Valley Wineries You Can Visit
Bouvet Ladubay is a popular winery in the Saumur region of Loire Valley and is one of the best producers of sparkling wine. The winery has won hundreds of awards and offers a guided wine tour of the excavated underground cellars to the visitors 7 days a week.
Château des Vaults
Located in the Anjou-Saumur region, Chateau des Vaults is known for its high-quality Chenin Blanc. It is a beautiful winery that is also home to several rare species of plants. Apart from the wine tastings and tours, one can also enjoy exhibitions, concerts, and other events held at this chateau.
Enjoy a wine tour in Loire Valley at Alpha Loire, a production and trading winery in the central region. This winery is renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc and offers other types of wines, including sparkling, rose, and red wine. It gets the produce from Touraine, Cremant de Loire, and Cheverny appellations and is open every day from 9 AM – 12 PM and 2 PM – 5 PM.
Le Domaine des Vallettes
A family-owned estate, Le Domaine des Vallettes is well-versed with the art of winemaking. Specializing in the wonderful Cabernet Franc, the winery produces fresh rose wines and fruity red wines. Visitors can take a vineyard tour and enjoy wine tastings for 2-3 hours on a visit.
Chateau Soucherie is a winery located in Anjou that is known for its environmentally friendly production process. The property produces a wide range of wines, but Anjou Blanc is the specialty of the region. Plan a wine holiday here to enjoy a stay in the beautiful luxurious rooms with guided wine tastings and cellar tours.
Château de Minière
Built in the 17th century, Chateau de Miniere is in Bourgeil and covers 18 hectares of land. Cabernet Franc is the specialty here, along with a special wine made from old vines. It is a certified organic vineyard and produces a variety of rose, sparkling, and red wines. The winery is open to the public every day from 11 AM to 5 PM, where they can enjoy picnics, cycling wine tours, wine tastings, and more.
All Your Questions About Loire Valley Wineries Answered
A. A popular UNESCO World Heritage Site, Loire Valley offers a lot of fun things to do for visitors. You can explore the fairytale-like castles, beautiful gardens, explore the wineries, taste the delicious wine, and lots more. There are over a thousand vineyards open to the public to enjoy a wine tour in Loire Valley.
A. Loire Valley is known for the Loire wine region. It is the world’s best-known and France’s 3rd largest wine production region.
A. Loire Valley vineyards produce a large selection of wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Chardonnay, Gamay, Muscadet, and more.
A. Loire wine region is the largest producer of white wine in entire France. The signature wines or Loire Valley are Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blan.
A. Middle Loire is best known for producing exceptional sparkling wine.
A. The Touraine region in Loire Valley is known for producing the best red wines.
A. Cabernet Franc is the most famous red wine produced in the Loire wine region.
A. many regions in Loire Valley produce white wines. But Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are the best as they produce Sauvignon Blanc, the best white wine in the world.
A. Yes, Loire valley is the second largest wine producer after Champagne.
A. There are 87 appellations and around 7000 Loire Valley wineries with 70,000 hectares of vineyards available in this region.
A. Loire Wine region produces approximately 400 million bottles of wine annually. This is why it is the 3rd largest wine-producing region in the country.
A. Loire Valley wineries and vineyards experience a continental climate and the Loire river plays a huge role in the temperature too. In spring, the climate is cool and frosty while the wine harvest months experience rainfall.
A. Loire Valley is divided into three regions – Upper Loire, Middle Loire, and Lower Loire. There are 5 sub-regions as well including Nantes, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, and Centre-Loire.
A. There are many different varieties of grapes produced in the Loire wine region. This includes Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Melon de Bourgogne, and more.
A. From Loire Valley vineyards, a wide range of wines is produced, including still wine, sparkling wine, rose, and dessert wine.
A. The best season to visit Loire Valley wineries is spring or fall season. During this time, the climate is pleasant, making it perfectly comfortable to explore the wineries.
A. Some of the best Loire Valley wineries that you should visit are Domaine de la Belle Étoile, Vignoble de la Jarnoterie, Domaine Du Pont De Livier, and more.
A. Over 1000 Loire Valley wineries are open to the public, where you can explore the vineyards. There are around 400 accredited wine cellars to taste the delicious wines and learn more about the process.
A. A visit to Loire Valley wineries will give you a glimpse into the wine production of this region. Visit 2-3 wineries a day to learn about the wine-making process and explore the vineyards while enjoying your surroundings.
A. There is a wide range of wine available in the Loire Valley wineries, with prices ranging from $12.99 to $ 406.95 and above, depending on the wine variety you choose.