Loire Valley Wine Tours: New Video from French Wine Explorers

Pascale Bernasse | Thursday, Aug 25th 2011

Loire Valley Wine Tours: See our new video!  Enjoy!

Loire Valley Wine Tours: A Gift for All the Senses

When visitors to France think of the Loire Valley, the primary images that come to mind are the beautiful, historic chateaux that dot the countryside, including Chambord, Chenonceau, Chaumont, etc. For residents of France, on the other hand, the Loire Valley is a fertile terroir producing great cheeses and of course, great wines. Outside of France, the wines of the Loire Valley are unfortunately not very well represented, and only a handful of the many appellations ever make it into wine stores or restaurants. Much the pity, since the Loire offers wine lovers not only great wines, but also great value, in a tremendous variety of styles and colors. So when thinking of the Loire Valley, consider Loire Valley wine tours.

Perhaps the best-known Loire Valley wine is Vouvray, the crisp, fruity white wine of the Touraine subregion (the region surrounding the town of Tours). Vouvray is made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes, as are many of the white wines of the Loire. It exists in a totally dry form, and also off-dry and sweet versions. Some of the production goes to making a sparkling wine that is vinified using the “Méthode Champenoise”, and the very best of these wines can compete quite nicely with good Champagnes. Another well-known Loire wine, this time from the Central subregion, is Sancerre. White Sancerre, made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes, is, at its best, one of the most elegant white wines in France. A rosé and red also exist, and can be quite pleasant, easy-drinking wines at affordable prices.

But there’s much more to the Loire Valley wine tours than just Vouvrary and Sancerre. There are some excellent reds produced as well, both in the Touraine and the Anjou subregions. The best are made in Chinon and Bourgeuil, from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes. The best of these wines are hearty and fruity, with light tannins and refreshing acidity, excellent accompaniments to red meats and, when older, go very well with game meats.

The Anjou subregion is best known for the inexpensive, off-dry Rosé d’Anjou, which is certainly not its best product. The most elegant and complex wines come from the appellations of Côteaux de Layon, Bonnezeaux and Quarts-de-Chaume for sweet dessert wines, and from Savennières for remarkably terroir-influenced dry white wines (all of these wines exhibit the very best that can be extracted from the Chenin Blanc grape, which is a native of the Loire Valley and is found nearly exclusively in that region in France).

The Loire is an immense wine region, stretching from the center of France to the Atlantic coast at Nantes. The area around Nantes produces another famous wine, Muscadet, which is an excellent accompaniment to the fresh seafood of the coastal region. Muscadet has gotten a bad rap over the years, and one has to admit that alot of Muscadet is not very well made, but the best producers who work “sur lies” (aging on the lees) produce interesting wines that offer a good value.

This means that Loire Valley wine tours offer a wine for every taste, and when paired with the local food of the area such at the chevre goat cheese, coq au vin, or tart tatin (caramelized apple tart).  Now is the time to plan your Loire Valley wine tour and discover all that this wonderful region has to offer!

What’s your favorite wine from the Loire Valley? Comment below!

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