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Loire

Loire

Whilst the Loire is famous as the longest river in France, it is overlooked as the home of Sauvignon Blanc and a host of wonderful wines. 

The river begins in the south, nearly touching the Rhône, but the two regions could hardly be more different.  Almost all the vineyards of the Loire are found along its northern banks, where ripening is hard and character great.

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    • Origin
    • France
    Crisp fresh Sauvignon Blanc with a pronounced nose of gooseberry and grapefruit. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Crisp, fruity and aromatic with a generous helping of stoney minerality. Classic Sancerre from a family with a wine making history stretching back ove... Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    This light and fruity yet deceptively complex red has a slightly green character nestled in amongst red summer berries and just a hint of spice. Can b... Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Fragrant smoky aromas backed up by the zesty and characterful Sauvignon Blanc fruit. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Aromas of grapefruit, rhubarb and some peach and white flower notes. The palate is supple with a rich mid palate with freshness and a mineral saltines... Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Fresh and fizzy with summer fruit characteristics and a dry finish. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Delicious aromas backed up by intensely rich Sauvignon Blanc fruit. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    A delicate and subtle rose with a nose of rosehips and redcurrants. Soft and fresh with more summer fruit flavours and an off-dry finish. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Almost medium dry; salmon pink in colour. This wine has delightful fruit flavours and aromas. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    An elegant and crisp wine, ideal for drinking on any occasion. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Elegant citrus fruit flavours give this medium style wine a balancing freshness. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Aromatic grassy bouquet. Fresh ripe fruit flavours with a crisp, dry finish typical of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Read More
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    • Origin
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    Aromatic, fresh grassy bouquet. Fresh, ripe fruit flavours with a crisp, dry finish typical of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    A wine with a pleasing ripe fruit character which is balanced by a zippy freshness. Easy drinking and a great match with fresh seafood. Read More
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    • Origin
    • France
    Attractive succulent fruit balanced by a good acidity creates this easy-drinking and appealing Muscadet. Read More
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White wines, amongst the greatest in the world, are dominant, though the rosés delight and, when conditions are right, the reds can be excellent and distinct. Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Vouvray and Saumur-Champigny are amongst the famous names of the region.

Styles of Wine

The vineyards stretch from east to west for over 200 miles, beginning at Sancerre and ending at Muscadet.  These are two of the most famous names in the region, with instantly recognisable styles, but the Loire has variety to go with its length.

It is impossible to state, in so short a space, the styles that the Loire has perfected.  Individual areas need to be examined to get to the bottom of these.  However, to generalise, the whites and rosés of most years are crisp and acidic, but a warm vintage can create great depth of flavour and ageing potential.  The reds are light, floral and fruity, sometimes complex, but can struggle to ripen and thus can disappoint.  Sweet wines are often great value.

Key Vines

Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé), Chenin Blanc (Vouvray) and Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet) are the most important white varieties whilst Cabernet Franc is the dominant red.  Pinot Noir and Gamay have both arrived from Burgundy to play a small role.

Climate and Terroir

Both vary greatly along the wine-producing length of the river.  Weather coming in off the Atlantic affects the wines of Muscadet and the west but has dispersed long before Vouvray and Sancerre, where the climate is continental and the soil very different.  They are as varied as the styles of the Loire and defy explanation in so short a space.

One generalisation that can be made is about the latitude of the vineyards.  They are on the northern extent of reliable, large-scale winemaking and unfavourable years will drastically affect yield and quality.  Conversely, a good year can be truly magnificent.

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