Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is the heart of France, famous for its natural beauty, magnificent châteaux and great wine. The region is rich in history and culture: Renaissance writer Rabelais was born here; Joan of Arc led French troops to victory in the Hundred Years’ War in the Loire; and, as the Cradle of the French Language, its residents speak the purest French.



Appellation Characteristics:

Max. Summer Temp.
83°F

Altitude
Sea level - 100 m

Main Soil Types

The Loire splits quite neatly into 3 separate sections:
The western Loire, "Pays de Nantes" is the home of Muscadet. This is an area of low, sandy hills       
In the middle Loire, Vouvray, Tourraine and Chinon, the climate is mild with moderate rainfall. Half of the vineyards stretch across a hillside of Turonian chalk (limestone) overlooking the Loire. The other half rest on sand and gravel terraces, ancient silt deposits from the Loire.

The upper Loire, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé,  is to the extreme northeast of the valley. A more continental climate, summers are hot but short. The soil is a mixture of limestone, sand and chalk, known as "Tufa"- limestone (aka “caillottes”) on the east and west sides of the vineyard, Kimmerdigin limestone with oyster traces (“marne à huitre”) and limestone-clay and siliceous clay.

Average Rainfall
850 mm

Latitude 48° 2′  N

Longitude  2° 27′ E

Types of Grape

The Loire has a large number of different grape varieties, some of which dominate different parts of the region. They include:
Melon de Bourgogne dominates the western Loire, making Muscadet
Chenin Blanc which is the great grape of the middle Loire, with red wines made from Cabernet Franc
Sauvignon Blanc which is the star of the upper Loire. Reds are made from the Pinot Noir