The Loire Valley, which surrounds France’s longest river as it winds west to the Atlantic Ocean is a dynamic region that has inspired vintners, poets, and philosophers for centuries. It is also a wine professional’s dream, offering up a panoply of wines that span the color and style spectrum literally offering a bottle for every occasion and every budget. Among sommeliers, the wines are beloved for their naturally high acidity and penchant for food pairing.

Situated in Northwestern France, the Loire Valley is a cool climate overall with various degrees of maritime influence. Where the Loire meets the Atlantic in the Pays Nantais, for instance, the wines are heavily influenced by the marine influence while grapes grown further inland experience a more continental climate. The soil types in the 69 appellations of the Loire Valley are similarly varied ranging from schist to sand and hard tuffeau, which allows the region to produce a huge range of wines. Though best-known for white wines – since the Loire Valley produces more white wine than any other region in France – the region produces fantastic red, rosé and sparkling wines. In 2021, the Loire Valley exported 70 million bottles around the world.

The most important red grape varieties in the Loire Valley are Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, while Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are the most common white grape varieties. However, dozens of grapes are cultivated across the Loire Valley contributing to the diversity that characterizes the region as a whole. Though still white wines account for the largest proportion of Loire Valley wines in terms of volume and value, the area produces red, rosé, and sparkling wines of high quality.

Just 50 miles from Paris, the Loire Valley served as the summer destination for well-heeled Parisians and the French aristocracy leading to the abundance of beautiful, historic cháteaux that dot the hillsides of the Loire. Also called the “Garden of France,” the Loire Valley is famous for producing many of France’s most famed agricultural products including Valençay and crottin de chèvre cheeses, rillettes, and the beloved tarte tatin. Overall, the valley is incredibly beautiful and offers fascinating charm for visitors interested in history, food, and wine.

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