As with other wine regions in France, such as Burgundy, most of
the vineyards belonged to monasteries and it was the monks that developed the wine
production in the whole of the Loire region, but vines already existed when Romans invaded
the Loire Valley and according to legend, Saint Martin was the first to make wine in this
region in around 380.
When on holiday in France within the Loire Valley
region, although it is not associated with specific culinary delights you will find that
it is renowned for the quality of its produce and traditional, classic home cooking and
the majority of wine produced in this region are table wines that complement the French
food rather than try and compete with it.
For this reason, Loire Valley is the leading region for wines sold in restaurants in
France, but it is also the 2nd largest sparkling wine producing region in France.
The Loire Valley produces many fine wines in lots of different styles, from dry to sweet,
still to sparkling and white through to rose and red wine and the most famous names
include Chinon, Muscadet Sur Lie, Sancerre plus Vouvray, with around 75 percent of the
production is for white wine.
The Loire Valley is famous not just for its
vineyards, but for its natural beauty, quaint villages, charming towns and the amount of
magnificent chateaux and for these reasons has become the 3rd most popular tourist
destination for a holiday.
Also, the total wine production in the Loire Valley makes up the 3rd largest viticulture
area, the largest white wine producing region and the 2nd largest sparkling wine producing
region in France and is renowned for the vast variety of its wine, but with quality and affordability.
From the areas of Menetou-Salon, Quincy, Reuilly and Sancerre, the fragrant sauvignon
blanc wines are the perfect accompaniment to goats cheese, which is famous in this
region. Another popular dish from the Loire Valley is salmon served with lentils and
this can be accompanied by either a red wine or white wine from the region as they do not
overpower the French food.
Muscadet is excellent with oysters, whilst the dry or slightly less dry Vouvray go
exceedingly well with scallops and lobster.
The richer red wines are especially well suited to red meats such as lamb, and the lighter
ones, slightly chilled, are ideal wines for a summer barbecue. Whereas the sparkling
wines are great at the start of a meal or with a cold buffet and the sweet wines, which
are among the best in the world, are great served with foie gras or Tarte Tatin, the
traditional apple tart that is made in the Loire Valley region.
The main grape varieties that are used in the Loire Valley are chenin blanc, cabernet
franc, muscadet, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, but they do not use any chardonnay
grapes. And yet the wines of the Loire Valley have their own unique characteristics
of freshness and finesse, yet are softer than many, which makes them very easy to
accompany virtually any type of French food or other country's cuisine from the bland to