Before we tell you what the Top 3 Loire Valley wines are, let’s just make sure we all know exactly where it is. Start by casting your thoughts toward Paris in the north. From here, deviate 80 miles south and then drive west straight towards the Atlantic ocean. This is stretch of 180 miles west towards the sea is Loire Valley wine territory.
It is often referred to as the Garden of Francedue to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards (such as cherries) and artichoke and asparagus fields which line the banks of the Loire river.
What wines can I expect in the Loire Valley?
Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc are the three main grape varieties which are grown in the Loire Valley. The majority of wines from the Loire Valley are unoaked meaning the wine has not spent any time fermenting or ageing in oak barrels. This results in wines that are young, fresh and express a lot of citrus and berry fruit. The Cabernet Francs may have spent some time ageing in French Oak although this is not always the case. Below is a list of typical aromas and flavours you may expect in the 3 main wines from the Loire Valley:
Chenin Blanc – Lemon, lime, green apple, pear, peach, jasmine, chamomile, saffron. Note that Chenin blancs are fairly acidic. They pair very well with seafood, roast chicken and spicy asian dishes.
Sauvignon Blanc – Lime, green apple, pear, kiwi fruit, passionfruit, guava, white peach. Less acidic that Chenin blanc with more of a tropical fruit presence. Like Chenin, pairs well with poultry and white fish like cod and snapper.
Cabernet Franc – raspberry, red cherry, blackberry. Can have notes of spice and leather if vines grown in limestone soil. Food wise Cabernet Franc pairs well with grilled pork and bbq chicken. If cheese is your thing go for an Italian pecorino.
Biodynamic and Organic wine making practices are also common in the Loire Valley. Over the last couple of years they have seen a steady increase in the conversion of growers to become certified organic and/or biodynamic. Look for the green Bio Agri Certificate on the back of the wine labels.
Top 3 Loire Valley Wines
Now for the most important bit. What are our top 3 Loire Valley wines for 2018? In June the Savage Vines team travelled to the Loire Valley looking for some new and interesting wines. We spent 3 days driving around to various Domaine’s and villages to see what we could find. Here are our wine buyers top 3 Loire Valley wines:
Chateau de Miniere – A stately Domaine which has undergone restorations in recent times. Very well maintained gardens and vines. There is accommodation on site as well as a function venue. Located roughly 15 miles out of Tours in the central Loire Valley. Savage Vines highly recommends their Blanc de Miniere and Bulles de Miniere. Address:23 rue de Minière, 37140 Ingrandes de Touraine. Telephone: +33 2 47 96 94 30
Drusse – Less flashy than Chateau de Miniere although David and Nathalie’s wines are just as good. Located in St Nicolas De Bourgueil which produces primarily cabernet franc. They are a certified biodynamic producer and have a range of red wines from young & fresh style wines through to cabernet franc’s which have spent over 2 years in French oak and further time ageing in the bottle. We recommend their Vieilles Vignes 2015 Cabernet Franc. Address: D35 Villatte 37140 Bourgueil Telephone: +33 2 47 97 98 24
Domaine Des Roches Neuves – Wine made by Thierry Germain who originally hails from Bordeaux. His wine making ethos is one of a natural approach and considered one of the best biodynamic and organic producers in the Loire Valley. Les Roches [The Rocks] 2016 is a cabernet franc made from grapes grown in silty sands and clay limestone soils and is not to be missed. Address:56 Boulevard Saint Vincent 49400 Varrains Telephone: +33 2 41 52 94 02
If you are thinking this Loire Valley wine thing sounds pretty good then start packing your bags. It is really easy to get there from the UK and you have a few options. Here are a few below
Train – Get the Eurostar to Paris (2hr 20mins) . From here you can either hire a car from Gare Du Nord (2hr 30mins) or get a domestic train to Tours or Angers (1hr 30mins). Note that you are going to need a car once you are there or book a winery tour to get around.
Flying – Easy Jet fly from Luton and Gatwick to Nantes in the west of the Loire Valley.
Drive – You can drive to Folkstone (2 hrs) and put your car on the Eurotunnel. Once you arrive at the other end in Calais (35 mins), the drive south west towards Tours in central Loire is about 350 miles (5 hours).
Loire Valley Wine Offer
Savage Vines import unique wines from small independent producers from all over the world. In our online wine shop we sell real wine made by real people and not massed produced rubbish made by big conglomerates. As part of our mission to promote and support independent wine makers, we are offering a 10% discount on our Loire Valley wines. Use the code ‘LV18’ on check out to get your discount on these amazing wines.
We also have an epic wine subscription where you get 2 or 3 bottles a month delivered to your door. You choose if you want red wines, white wines or both and we do the rest. It’s a great way to be introduced to unique wines from all over the world. As an active subscriber you also get 25% off wine repurchases. Monthly wines come with a wine map, tasting notes and on the day of delivery we send you a podcast where we talk you through the wines in your box. No contracts and you can pause or skip a month if you like. If you want to know more take a quick read of our frequently asked questions.