Loire Valley

Muscadet: White Wine from France’s Loire Valley is Perhaps the World's Greatest Wine Value

The Loire River is one of the most important rivers in France.  Over the course of its 650 miles, the Loire River Valley is the longest winegrowing region in the world.  The river begins in the mountains of the Ardeche in south-central France, before flowing gently north and then west, flowing out to the Atlantic Ocean on the western coast of France.  Many of France’s Kings had built chateaux’s along the river earning it the nickname of the Royal valley.  In fact, at one point, the Loire Valley was the seat of Royal power in France. 

Loire Valley, France - Wine Vintage Chart

Vouvray, Loire Valley, France  
2009 91 D/H
2008 89 D
2007 87

Rosé du Loire? Mais oui! Cabernet Franc’s Lighter Shade

The Bay Area is experiencing an unseasonable hot spell.  And here, like most places suffering under the unrelenting rays of our nearest star, rosé is king. 

But not just any rosé.  Survey the bottles of blush pinch-hitting for rouge in wine enthusiasts’ lineups these days, and you’ll find a predominance of wine from Southern France.  And rightly so – no region does rosé better than the appellations bordering the sun-lit Cote d’Azur.  But Provence is not the only show in town.  Other regions, not only in France but also in Spain, Germany, and Italy, produce delightful examples of warm weather’s red-substitute. 

Borgueil: The Unpronounceable, Unforgettable King of Cabernet Franc

When I think of wine that is interesting, unique, obscure, high-value, and small-production, I think of Borgueil – the small wine region in France’s Loire Valley that produces almost exclusively Cabernet Franc.

Life is Like a Mixed Case of Loire Cabernet Franc (or, A Wild Night at Solano Cellars)

If you’re looking for a wild night, grab a few bottles of Loire Cabernet Franc, call a couple of friends, and swing by your local wine shop. I kid you not. My wife and I did this very thing yesterday evening, and it proved to be one crazy ride.

For the normal among us – those who prefer to spend their evenings at the theater, clubs, house parties, or sporting events – a Cabernet Franc tasting may not sound terribly entertaining.

Loire Valley Wines: A Glimpse Into Nantes, Anjou et Saumur, Touraine, & Centre Loire

The Loire Valley wine region often takes a backseat to its famous native neighbours when discussing French wines. Outside of France, wine lovers often opt for a classic white Burgundy, or a prestigious red Bordeaux, even a Cote du Rhone is more likely to show up on your dinner table. However, Val de Loire (as it’s called in France) will not stay quiet much longer. The region is taking matters into its own hands in efforts to educate consumers and promote Loire Valley wines as a whole as well as individually in order to build a reputation of diversity and quality.

Vouvray: A Chenin Blanc for the Ages

Among Americans, the Loire Valley is most often associated with gardens and castles and not much else. We journey the 150 kilometers southwest from Paris and take a day or two visiting Chateau de Chambord and Chenonceau, all the while enjoying the delightful flora and thinking of bygone days when princes and noblemen still roamed the cavernous halls in this ancient land.

But the French know better. They know what we foreigners are just beginning to discover—that some of the most interesting, delicious, and affordable wines in the world hail from the chalky soil on which those famous castles stand.

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