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The Loire Valley- climate, terroir and its delicious wines.

The Loire Valley- climate, terroir and its delicious wines.

The Loire Valley - France

The Loire Valley is one of the most diverse wine regions in France, producing a wide range of wines from light and crisp whites to full-bodied reds and luscious, sweet wines. The region is known for its stunning châteaux, scenic vineyards, and varied terroirs that make the wines produced there unique. In this blog post, we will explore the different climates and terroirs of the Loire Valley and how they impact the flavours and styles of wine produced in the region.

Loire Valley (smashingwines.co.uk)

The Climate and Terroir of the Loire Valley:

The Loire Valley is a long, narrow region that stretches from the Atlantic coast to the centre of France. The region is divided into three primary areas: the Upper Loire, the Middle Loire, and the Lower Loire. Each area has a different climate and terroir, which makes the wines produced there distinct.

The Upper Loire:

The Upper Loire, which includes the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, has a continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. The region is known for its limestone soils, which give the wines a mineral and flinty character. The Sauvignon Blanc grape is the most widely planted grape variety in this area, and it produces crisp, high-acid wines with notes of citrus, green apple, and grass.

The Middle Loire:

The Middle Loire, which includes the regions of Touraine and Anjou-Saumur, has a milder climate with a mix of oceanic and continental influences. The soils in this region are diverse and include limestone, clay, and sand. The Chenin Blanc grape is the most important grape variety in this area, and it produces wines that range from dry and crisp to sweet and luscious. The region is also known for its red wines made from the Cabernet Franc grape, which are light and fruity with notes of raspberry and blackcurrant.

The Lower Loire:

The Lower Loire, which includes the regions of Muscadet and the Pays Nantais, has a maritime climate with cool temperatures and high rainfall. The region is known for its granite and schist soils, which give the wines a distinctive mineral character. The Melon de Bourgogne grape is the most widely planted grape variety in this area, and it produces crisp, high-acid wines with notes of lemon, green apple, and sea salt.

The Impact of Climate and Terroir on Wine Styles:

The climate and terroir of the Loire Valley have a significant impact on the flavours and styles of wine produced in the region. In general, wines from the Upper Loire tend to be more acidic and have a mineral character, while wines from the Middle Loire are more diverse in style and can range from dry and crisp to sweet and luscious. Wines from the Lower Loire tend to be light and crisp with a distinctive mineral character.

Sauvignon Blanc:

The Sauvignon Blanc grape is widely planted in the Upper Loire and produces crisp, high-acid wines with notes of citrus, green apple, and grass. These wines are often unoaked and are best consumed young to preserve their fresh fruit flavours. The mineral character of these wines comes from the limestone soils in the region, which also help to give the wines a long finish.

Smashing Wines has a range of wines using the Sauvignon Blanc grape from the Loire Valley – please click on the links below to see what we have in stock for you to try and taste.

Andre Fouassier, Valencay Blanc, Vieilles Vignes (smashingwines.co.uk)

Nicolas Millerioux, Sancerre, Tradition 2021 (smashingwines.co.uk)

Chenin Blanc:

The Chenin Blanc grape is the most important grape variety in the Middle Loire and produces wines that range from dry and crisp to sweet and luscious. The dry wines are often unoaked and have notes of green apple, pear, and honey, while the sweet wines are rich and complex with flavours of dried apricot, honey, and caramel. The diverse soils in the region, which include limestone, clay, and sand, have a significant impact on the flavour and style of the wines produced there.

We also have a range of Chenin Blancs as well – see below:

Chateau de La Calonniere, 'Colombier' Chenin Sec (smashingwines.co.uk)

Chateau de La Calonniere, 'Prestige' Anjou Blanc (smashingwines.co.uk)

Cabernet Franc:

The Cabernet Franc grape is widely planted in the Middle Loire and produces light and fruity red wines with notes of raspberry and blackcurrant. The wines are often unoaked and can be consumed young or aged for a few years to develop more complex flavours. The diverse soils in the region, which include limestone, clay, and sand, have a significant impact on the flavour and style of the wines produced there.

Chateau de La Calonniere, 'Prestige' Anjou Villages (smashingwines.co.uk)

Renaud Desbourdes, Chinon, Les Ribotees (smashingwines.co.uk)

Renaud Desbourdes, Chinon, Sous Marins, Reserve de la Mariniere 2018 (smashingwines.co.uk)

Melon de Bourgogne:

The Melon de Bourgogne grape is the most widely planted grape variety in the Lower Loire and produces crisp, high-acid wines with notes of lemon, green apple, and sea salt. These wines are often aged on their lees, which gives them a distinctive mineral character. The granite and schist soils in the region also have a significant impact on the flavour and style of the wines produced there.

We love Muscadet which is the more common name for wines made using Melon de Bourgogne – see our wines below.

Domaine des Yolais, Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur Lie (smashingwines.co.uk)

Chateau du Coing St Fiacre, Anima Mea, Muscadet sur Lie (smashingwines.co.uk)

Conclusion:

The Loire Valley is a diverse wine region with a rich history and varied terroirs that make the wines produced there unique. The climate and terroir of the region have a significant impact on the flavours and styles of wine produced there, with wines from the Upper Loire generally being more acidic and mineral-driven, wines from the Middle Loire being more diverse in style, and wines from the Lower Loire being light and crisp with a distinctive mineral character. Whether you prefer crisp whites, light reds, or luscious, sweet wines, the Loire Valley has something to offer for every wine lover.

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