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Wines from Loire

Stretching over 7 departments, between Nantes in the west and Blois in the east, the Val de Loire appellation follows its royal river for 800 kilometres. The Nantes, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine and Centre regions make up a variety of terroirs, climates and wines spread over 50 appellations and 70,000 hectares. The vineyards of the Loire produce red, rosé, white and sparkling wines of which 250 million bottles are sold each year in 140 countries.

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the History of France overlaps with the History of the Loire Valley. Already in Roman times, the region of Nantes was known for the cultivation of its vineyards. In the 6th century, written traces (Grégoire de Tours) of a tradition of viticulture in the Loire Valley exist. But the real development of vine growing really began in the 9th to 12th centuries with the hard work of the Benedictine and Augustinian monks. The intelligence of their sense of commerce enabled them to make the most of the means of communication offered by the Loire and its tributaries. In 1154, when Henry II of Plantagenet was crowned King of England, he served Anjou wine at his table. Jean-sans-Terre and Henri III continued this tradition. Thereafter, the craze of the kings of France for the Loire Valley never ceased. Finally, in the 15th century, the bourgeoisie extended the Loire Valley wine trade and managed the vineyards around the towns of Angers, Saumur and Orléans, abolishing the "banvin right", the exclusive right of the Lords to trade in wine.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the wines of the Loire appellation are the product of a mosaic of microclimates and soils. The result is a great diversity of grape varieties, aromas and wine typicities.

Between the eruptive and metamorphic rocks of the Armorican Massif in the Nantes region, the slate, sandstone and carboniferous schists of the Anjou region, the tufa chalk and flint sands and clays in Saumur and Touraine, the terraces along the banks of the Loire and Vienne rivers are formed of sand and gravel that have been agglutinated and drained by the river current over time.

In Nantes and in the Anjou vineyards, the oceanic influence softens seasonal variations: mild winters, hot summers with relatively good sunshine, few thermal differences. In Saumur, the climate changes to a semi-oceanic climate and seasonal variations are then more marked. Finally, in the Touraine vineyards, the climate is at the crossroads of oceanic and continental influences.

12 grape varieties make up the wines of the Loire Valley appellation. 45% of the production are white wines, 22% rosés and 21% reds, the rest being left to bubble wines. Loire Valley wines are generally made from a single grape variety: Melon de Bourgogne in Nantes, Chenin (Pinot de Loire), Cabernet (le Breton) and Gamay in Anjou, Saumur and Touraine. Sauvignon and Pinot Noir in Touraine and the Centre. There are still a few other grape varieties: Grolleau, Pinot Meunier, Pineau d'Aunis, Romorantin, but the main ones in white are: Melon, Chenin and Sauvignon; in red, Cabernet Franc.

The wines of the Loire Valley appellation are fresh and fruity as you wish, especially the rosés. They are tender, delicate and their diversity makes them original wines depending on the soil from which they come. The still reds are fruity wines that can be kept for a relatively long time. Finally, the whites, the majority, are either dry, mellow or sweet and can be enjoyed at any time and under any circumstances. The last ones, the fine bubbles, an astonishing feature of the Loire vineyards, are produced according to traditional techniques.

The emblematic producer of this region is the Domaine Didier Dagueneau in Pouilly-Fumé.