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Oenology

Deciphering the appellations of the Loire Valley vineyards

8 January 2019

From two thousand years of history, the Loire Valley vineyards, the 3rd largest French wine region, is characterized by a great diversity of climates and soils giving birth to a wide variety of wines.

From two thousand years of history, the Loire Valley vineyards, the 3rd largest French wine region, is characterized by a great diversity of climates and soils giving birth to a wide variety of wines.

The wines of the Loire Valley flourish in an exceptional cultural landscape, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from Chalonnes-sur-Loire (Maine et Loire) to Sully-sur-Loire (Loiret).

THE CLIMATES OF LOIRE VALLEY VINEYARDS

The Loire and its numerous tributaries play an appreciable moderating role in the vineyard. By favoring the existence of a multitude of microclimates favorable to the cultivation of the vine, it contributes to the great diversity of the wines. Their buffering effect is decisive, especially in the production of sweet and sweet wines.

In the vineyards of Nantes, the oceanic influence attenuates seasonal variations: autumns and winters are mild, hot summers, often humid.

The climate of the Anjou vineyard is oceanic: harsh winters, hot summers with good sunshine, and slight thermal differences; note some very dry microclimates where flourishes Mediterranean flora.

In the vineyard of Saumur, the hills slow down the westerlies, the climate becomes semi-oceanic and the seasonal variations are naturally more marked.

The vineyards of Touraine are at the crossroads of oceanic and continental influences.

TERROIR AND APPELLATIONS OF LOIRE VALLEY

The first references to the terroir appear in the mythological texts. Over the centuries, European winemakers refined the practices of identifying the provenance of wine in diverse ways (seals on jars bearing precise indications …).

In 1936, French winemakers developed the concept of “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” (AOC). The following year sees the creation of the National Institute of Appellations of Origin (INAO) which formalizes the AOC.

The wines of the Loire Valley come from a palette of grape varieties unique in the world. 24 varieties are their diversity, the four major varieties being Cabernet Franc for reds, Chenin, Sauvignon Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne for whites.

Rosé, red, white, dry, semi-dry, mellow or sweet, fruity, greedy, round, robust … The 60 appellations, denominations and IGP of the Loire Valley represent a large family, the Loire in hyphen.

These appellations are divided into 5 distinct zones :

– The vineyards of Nantes, which include 7 AOP whose regional appellation AOP Muscadet.
– The vineyards of Anjou-Saumur which, with their 19 AOP, present a great diversity of red, dry and mellow white wines, rosés and fine bubbles. Among the AOC, we can mention the 2 regional and sub-regional appellations: AOP Anjou and AOP Saumur.
– The vineyards of Touraine representing 20 AOP and a very wide variety of wines produced. The regional appellation, AOP Touraine, represents a large area of ​​the sector.
– The vineyards of the Center-Loire, include 8 AOP and 3 IGP among which we can find AOP Sancerre, AOP Pouilly-Fumé or AOP Menetou-Salon.
– The vineyards of Auvergne represented by 2 AOP: Saint-Pourçain and Côtes d’Auvergne.

The Val de Loire wine route is the longest in France. As a famous wine tourism destination, it takes place over 800 km through the vineyards of the Loire Valley. With many signs, it invites you to discover an exceptional heritage along the royal river: castles and landscapes of great diversity.

Find more information on the following website: https://www.vinsvaldeloire.fr/en

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