Diversity is a good thing in just about every way. Including in wine regions. And the wines of the Loire Valley are the epitome of diversity: Dry white wine, incredible sweet white wine, slightly sweet white wine, dry red wine, rosés, sparkling wine. Wow!
Not surprisingly, it takes a long valley to produce all these wines and the Loire River Valley is LOOOONG, over 300 miles LOOOONG. Heading from East to West, lets explore just a few of some important (and delicious!!) wines of the Loire Valley.
Sancerre/Pouilly-Fumé – Both of these beautiful wines are made from the same grape that we all know and love as Sauvignon Blanc. These are quintessential sauvignon blanc wines that are herbal without being grassy with beautiful acidity without the overly sharp feel of some sauvignon blanks. And what great food wines!!
Vouvray – So sad that in the U.S. Chenin Blanc seems like the poor stepchild of white wines. How many times have you sat next to someone in a bar who has asked the bartender for a Chenin Blanc. Oh, never? But talk about a wine that just bursts with freshness provided by the beautiful acidity layered over notes of white fruit and flowers. And there is a style to suit every taste, like sweeter wines, Vouvray has you covered. Dry whites your thing, there is a Vouvray for you. Once you try these great exciting wines, you will say Yay for Vourvay!!
Chinon – The Loire Valley isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Cabernet Franc. But if you try the wines from Chinon, the next time you think of Cabernet Franc, you might very well think Loire! In my book, Chinon is one of the most pure, elegant expressions of Cabernet Franc. A mixture of red and darker fruit flavors with a dash of spice.
Savennieres – Widely considered the purest expression of Chenin Blanc, Savenniers is, even more so than its Vouvray cousin, an all but forgotten wine in the U.S. The rules in this region requiring low yields results in concentrated wines. These are age-worthy white wines of distinction.
So Much More! – I have only touched on a few of the diverse array of wines from the Loire Valley. There are amazing sweet wines from the Anjou-Saumur region including a wine that opened my eyes to the wonderous sweet wines of Anjou-Saumur, Coteaux du Layon (given to me by a friend with a home in that region) and the prestigious sub-regions of Quarts de Chaume, Bonnezeaux, all made from the Chenin Blanc grape. This region also is the home of varying styles of Rosé. Sparkling wine also abounds in the Loire with styles ranging from sweet to dry, white or rosé.
So, there you have it. An overview of the great wines of Loire: Diversity rules!!
(week of 9/3/2018)
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