The many wines of France’s Loire Valley make for excellent drinking whether it’s summertime, fall, winter, or spring. There’s something for every season. Today, we’ll take a quick look at some of the lovely grape varieties that make the Loire such a versatile wine region.
If you love fish or shellfish, Muscadet is a wine you simply must try. This light, bright white is made from the Melon de Bourgogne and is found throughout the western Loire. If you like your white with a little more oompf, look for the words sur lie on the label. This means the wine has been aged on its lees, the spent yeast cells that drop out of the wine after fermentation. Ageing a wine on its lees gives it a creamier texture and fuller body. In general, Muscadet is citrusy, slightly salty and practically made for oysters.
We recommend: Domaine de l’Ecu
Sancerre & Pouilly Fumé
Love Sauvignon Blanc? Then Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé are for you. This is the grape at its finest, as far as France goes. Full of zesty grapefruit and lime, herbs, and the occasional hint of jalapeno, these examples of Sauvignon Blanc are as classic as they come.
We recommend: Ladoucette, Henri Bourgeois, and Francois Cotat.
Bone dry to unctuously sweet, the wines of Vouvray are made from the white Chenin Blanc grape. The off-dry versions of Vouvray are outstanding with spicy meals or cuisines with more exotic ingredients like many Asian, Chinese, or Thai dishes. Yellow apples, beeswax, and white tea are all common aromas for Vouvray.
We recommend: Champalou
Red lovers pay attention! The wines of Chinon are brilliant. Made from Cabernet Franc, these reds are beautifully floral and fruity with enough tannins to sink your teeth into. Capable of ageing and perfect for drinking straight off the shelf, you can’t go wrong with Chinon. Also look out for similar wines from Bourgeuil and Saint Nicholas de Bourgeuil.
We recommend: Bernard Baudry, Charles Jouget
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