The Best Wines of the Loire Valley

The Best Wines of the Loire Valley

The fairy-tale landscape of the Loire Valley is known for its fine wines, but with a landscape so vast and bountiful, it can be hard to pick the good from the great. Drinking wine amongst the castles and the green is a pleasure only some can experience in the flesh, but the flavour of a certain vintage can transport you anywhere. You just need to know which one to pick. Here is a look at this exquisite region.

Sauvignon Blanc

The Loire Valley is renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc, which hails mostly from the areas of Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire, located in the Upper Loire. The wine from this area is sharp and fruity, with a crisp aftertaste that lingers on the tongue. Many are perfect when paired with light meals or as an appetiser before a large event. This variety does not particularly reap the benefits of age, and can be enjoyed while still young and tart. Fantastic Sauvignon blanc from the Upper Loire region can be found in many wineries of the area; Pascal Jolivet, Alphonse Mellot and Domaine Gérard Boulay to name a few.

Sencerre AOP

The Sencerre has been heralded for its flinty taste and is much sought-after as the luxury wine of choice in the Loire. Coming from the long-time centre of French resistance, this fruity sensation has hints of peach, the slightest sting of lime, and an overall floral feel to its smoothness. It is perfectly paired with goat’s cheese from around the area, and complements grilled or roasted chicken, turkey, salmon or trout.


The Pouilly-Fumé is a pure sauvignon blanc with a long history, dating back to the Gallo-Roman estate of the fifth century. The sibling to the Sencerre, this sauvignon blanc can turn the tables for many drinkers. If you unsure about your taste in white wines, the Pouilly-Fumé can guide you through its expressive, sharp flavours and balanced umami. Another wine that does not need to age, you can pick this up anywhere along the hills of the Upper Loire.

Muscadet Sèvre

To the southeast of Nantes comes the Muscadet Sèvre, an area named after the meeting of two beautiful rivers; the Sèvre Nantaise and the Petite Maine. Muscadet is the most heavily produced wine in the entire Valley, made from the popular Melon de Bourgogne grape. Light with notes of citrus, the beloved Muscadet is known for being bone-dry. It goes excellently with crab quiche, a local specialty, along with spicy greens like rocket and a sprinkling of nuts.

The Basics of French Wine

The Basics of French Wine

Unlike most wines around the world, the French wine labels focus on the region the wine was produced
rather than the grape that was used to produce the wine. This is based on the notion of terroir which is the wine’s expression of the place that it came from. This makes it rather difficult for the everyday wine lover to really get hooked on French wines. Hopefully, these tips will provide you with a comfortable entry into the basics of French wines.

Fun Fact: France is the second largest wine producing country in the world after Italy. They produce on
an average 6 billion bottles of wine a year.

These are the most popular regions in France where Wines are made:

Bordeaux: Wines in Bordeaux are made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The
dominant grape used in each blend depends on which bank of the Gironde River the wine was produced. Bordeaux wines have subtler fruity flavors and tannins.

White Wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon

Red Wines: Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc

Champagne: Contrary to popular belief only sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France are
to be called Champagne. They are created with a method known as methode champenoise or the traditional method. The yeast converts the sugar in the bottle to alcohol which produces carbon dioxide as the byproduct. in the process which produces the fizz of the drink. The process involves a lot of work and hence Champagne can get to be very expensive making it a favorite drink for celebrations.

Burgundy: Red Burgundy stands for Pinot Noir and White Burgundy means Chardonnay. However, you won’t see any such labels on the bottles of French wines. The Burgundy region is also split into 5 main regions for wines and they are as follows: Chablis, Cote d’Or, Cote Chalonnaise, Macon, and Beaujolais.

Provence: When people think of Provence most people think of the Rose wines from France. Wines made in the Provence region are made from a blend of Syrah, Mourverde, and Grenache. Rose wines are made from younger less mature vines which are not ready to be made into full-blooded Red wines.

Other famous regions for wine in France are:

  • Loire
  • Alsace
  • Rhone
  • Languedoc and Roussillon

French Wines Need Not Be Expensive:

You don’t have to break the bank in order to enjoy a good French Wine. Although it is true that there are French wines that can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand per bottle, there are also some really great affordable French wines which you can buy for as little as $20 per bottle.