When you think about wine the place that your mind first strays to is France and French wine. Often seen as the King of winemaking French wine has lots of history and prestige associated with it. There are many regions of France that produce wine – and of course it doesn’t stop at wine either. France also produces Cognacs which has recently become one of the coolest drinks to be seen with. In fact France produces all of the wines that people see as sophisticated, Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Chablis being the top of the list. However she also produces many other wines from equally as good grapes.
In this article we will be looking at a particular region of France, the Loire Valley. The Loire valley is known as the Garden of France and the Cradle of the French Language. It has fine Chateaus or castles all around it and it is also noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage. In fact the Loire valley is not only a hub for French wine it is also the home of many historic towns such as Amboise, Chinon, Nantes, Orleans, and Tours.
The central part of the Loire River valley, between Maine and Sully-sur-Loire, is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it a very special place to visit.
When it comes to wine, the Loire Valley is also of considerable significance. The valley is divided into three sections: The Upper Loire; The Middle Loire; and the Lower Loire. There are two generic types of wine that come from the region. The Cremant de Loire which refers to any sparkling wine which has been made according to the traditional champagne method of producing sparkling wine and the Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France.
The Upper Loire is dominated by the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. Here Sauvignon Blanc is the main grape cultivated for white wine with Pinot Noir dominating the reds.
The Middle Loire is dominated by the region of Anjou and Saumur. Anjou is known for its rose wines – Rose d’Anjou and Cabernet d’Anjou, whereas Saumur is better known for its sparkling wines. The sparkling wine to come out of the Saumur region is made from the Chenin blanc grape.
The Lower Loire which is at the river mouth goes through the region of
Muscadet and is of course responsible for the Muscadet wine.
A characteristic of many Loire valley wines is the high acidity of the drink. This is something that highlights the fresh, crisp flavours of a young wine. Most of the wines from this region are better drank young or left for a few years before drinking.
When looking for French wines to buy it is a good first step to browse a range of wines from an online wine retailer. This allows you to see what is on offer before you decide what to buy.
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Fiona Muller has been writing for Loire valley wine over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years.
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