Loire Valley


This is a very varied wine region that is made up of a large number of appellations. No one signature style is produced here. Instead, there is an incredibly diverse range of white, red and rose still wines.
Michelle Ames
Flashcards by Michelle Ames, updated more than 1 year ago
Michelle Ames
Created by Michelle Ames almost 4 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
As the Loire River flows north from the Massif Central, which two towns mark the beginning of the Loire Valley wine country? Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire. The 300 mile stretch of river from Sancerre to Nantes is flanked by vineyards nearly the entire way, especially on the southern side.
The Loire Valley is comprised of what four main distinct regions? 1. The Pays Nantais (Nantes Country). 2. Anjou-Saumur. 3. Touraine. 4. The Upper Loire. Also called the eastern Loire or Central Vineyards.
There is no generic regional AOC for the whole of the Loire. What is the name of the IGP that covers the region, and what style of wine does it produce? Val de Loire. One of the 6 regional vins de pays in France. Name changed in 2009. Wines are typically straight forward, displaying freshness, a light body and simple fruit flavours.
What is the climate of the western portion of the Loire Valley? Cool maritime.
What is the climate of the middle section of the Loire Valley? Moderate maritime with more sunshine further from the coast. The humidity from the sea air remains high, which is important for botrytis and sweet wine production in this area.
What keeps Anjou drier and warmer than Touraine? The Mauges hills. Some vineyards also benefit from warm stony soils.
What is the climate of the eastern portion of the Loire Valley? Continental. Moderated slightly by sea breezes up the valley.
The Loire lies at the northern limit of production for the grape varieties grown. What does this result in? Large vintage variation, as the weather patterns from year to year can change.
What is the main climate-related issue in the Loire for grape growing? Fungal disease linked to high levels of rainfall.
Where are the best vineyard sites located? Those with a southerly aspect, generally on the mid-slope, and facing the river for extra heat and reflected light.
What is the name for the soft, chalky limestone soil found in the Loire? Tuffeau.
What are the three key white grape varieties grown in the Loire? Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne.
Describe Melon de Bourgogne. Originally from Burgundy, it is fairly neutral and produces a light-bodied, very crisp white. It ripens early and is frost resistant. Also called Melon Blanc. It is limited to the Pays Nantais region where it is made into the Muscadet AOCs.
What is a speciality of the appellations of Muscadet? Muscadet (Sevre et Maine) Sur Lie. Bottled in the spring following the vintage, having spent the winter on its lees for a richer texture. The wine is handled very little to retrain delicacy and freshness.
What is another name for Chenin Blanc? Pineau de la Loire.
What are the two most well-known Chenin Blanc-based wines from the Loire, and what are their characteristics? 1. Vouvray. Typically light to medium-bodied with fresh fruity and floral notes. Can also be made sweet or sparkling. 2. Savennieres. Dry, complex and full-bodied. The best wines are noted for their ability to evolve for decades in bottle. Often listed among the world's top Chenin.
What is a benefit of Chenin Blanc's thin skin? Thin skins make it highly susceptible to botrytis. This makes Chenin incredibly versatile for making different styles, ranging from sparkling to dessert wine.
What is a peculiar challenge to growing Chenin Blanc? Within one bunch it is common for grapes to reach different levels of ripeness. Several passes through the vineyard may be necessary to ensure grapes are picked at the desired ripeness to prevent any green, herbaceous aromas.
Where is Sauvignon Blanc mainly grown? In the Upper Loire (Central Vineyards) and Touraine.
What are the two most prestigious appellations for Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire, and what makes them distinct? Sancerre (west bank) and Pouilly-Fume (east bank). Wines have notes of crisp green apple and wet stone. It is often said the latter has subtle smoky notes due to flinty soil.
Where can you find moderately priced Sauvignon Blanc similar in style to the sought after premium AOCs? Menetou-Salon.
What makes Cabernet Franc suited to the Loire (and cold climate regions in general)? It flowers and ripens early.
What are three important AOCs for Cabernet Franc in the Loire, and what are their characteristics? Chinon and Bourgueil in Touraine. Wines can range from light and fruity to fuller-bodied and oaked. The best have the ability to evolve in bottle over years. Saumur-Champigny. Lighter in body and tannin with spicy, juicy berry fruit. Best drunk young and can be served chilled.
What are the local names for Cabernet Franc and Merlot? Breton and Côt.
What are two other notable red grape varieties grown in the Loire? Gamay and Pinot Noir.
In 2011, what three new AOCs were created in the Pays Nantais? Gros Plant du Pays Nantais AOC, Coteaux d'Ancenis AOC, and Fiefs Vendeens AOC.
What is Coteaux du Layon known for? The most renowned sweet wines in the region. The two most favoured sites, Quarts de Chaume and Bonnezeaux, have their own appellations.
As of 2011, what became Loire Valley's first grand cru? Quarts de Chaume. A new appellation was created called Coteaux du Layon Premier Cru Chaume.
What is Saumur known for? Sparkling Chenin Blanc made by the traditional method (Saumur Mousseux). Rose versions are made from Cabernet Franc. Both must contain at least 60% of the main grape variety. Saumur is the chief source of Cremant de Loire.
What are Loire sparkling wines often marketed as? Fines Bulles (fine bubbles).
The eastern most vineyards in Touraine lie in what AOC? Cheverny AOC. Produces white blends of Sauv Blanc and Sauv Gris, as well as reds and roses based on blends of Pinot Noir and Gamay.
What are the two regional rose appellations, and what are their characteristics? 1. Rose d'Anjou. Off-dry and often produced primarily from Grolleau. 2. Cabernet d'Anjou. Medium-sweet and made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Considered higher quality.
What label are dry roses more likely to use? Rose de Loire AOC, which covers Anjou-Saumur and Touraine, but mainly comes from the former. Wines under this AOC must have a minimum of 30% Cab Franc and/or Cab Sauv in the blend.
Describe a rose from Sancerre. Made from Pinot Noir, it is generally pale in colour, light-bodied and dry, with delicate fruit flavours.
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