Loire Valley Wines

Loire Valley wines flourish in a unique cultural landscape, classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site from Chalonnes-sur-Loire (Maine et Loire) to Sully-sur-Loire (Loiret).

With over two thousand years of history, the Loire Valley vineyard area is made up of a mosaic of different climates, soils, geographical features and locations – all of which contribute to the diversity of the Valley’s wines.

THE LOIRE VALLEY – A MAJOR WINEGROWING REGION

The Loire Valley is France’s 3rd largest winegrowing region. Stretching from Atlantic coast to Auvergne, it is a point of equilibrium, where north meets south, sophistication meets freshness, art meets literature, and tradition meets modernity. These contrasts – plus the generally temperate climate and extraordinarily varied terroirs – have created the most diverse winegrowing region in the world.

THE LONGEST WINE ROUTE IN FRANCE

The Loire Valley Wine Route is the longest in France – 800 km winding through the Loire Valley vineyards – making this a prime wine-tourism destination. There are plenty of well-placed signposts to guide visitors on their way, and the route includes some unique cultural heritage sites along the Royal River, including the famous Chateaux and a vast range of diverse landscapes.

MICROCLIMATES

The Loire and its many tributaries have a significant moderating effect on the vineyards. By creating a large range of microclimates all of which promote vine growth, they contribute to the wide diversity of the region’s wines. They also have a buffer effect, which is crucial notably for the production of rich, sweet wines.

  • In the Nantes vineyards, oceanic influences temper seasonal variations. Autumns and winters are mild, while summers are hot and often very humid.
  • The Anjou vineyards enjoy an oceanic climate with mild winters, hot summers, plenty of sunshine and small variations in temperature. Some of the very dry microclimates promote the growth of Mediterranean plant life.
  • In the Saumur vineyards, the hills provide a barrier to winds blowing from the west; the climate becomes semi-oceanic and seasonal variations are more pronounced.
  • The vineyards of Touraine are at the crossroads of oceanic and continental influences.  

Interactive map

VARIETALS

The rapport between varietal and terroir, where diversity goes hand in hand with unity, is all the more unusual when one considers that some of the region’s great varietals are native to the Loire Valley –  while others come from the east or south west of France.

Loire Valley wines are unusual in that they are, for the most part, produced from a single varietal: Melon de Bourgogne for Nantes area; Chenin, Cabernet and Gamay in Anjou, Saumur and Touraine; Sauvignon in Touraine and the Centre; and also Grolleau, Pinot Meunier, Pineau d’Aunis, Romorantin etc. 

This breadth of variety is completely unique, and gives a very diverse, highly expressive range of wines.