Travel Guide to Loire Valley Wine Region

From the Atlantic Coast to the Centre Region, the Loire Valley extends on more than 800 kilometres. Having a great diversity of microclimates and terroirs, the wine-producers in the region produce many different wines. However, most of the wines produced in the appellation area, are made with a single grape variety.

Check out wine tastings & tours in Loire Valley!

Saumur castle-Loire Valley-France
Saumur castle, Loire Valley wine region, France

Loire Valley Wine region is famous for its world class wines. 52% of the wine production is for white wines, 26% concerns red wines, 16% for rosé wines and 6% for sparkling wines. Also, the region is the second producing region of rosé wines of appellation in France.

Lots of vineyards offer tours and tastings and it is famous for its wine route. The wine route of Loire valley, which is the longest wine route gives you the possibility to discover the great diversity of the wine region and its vineyards listed in UNESCO Heritage List as an outstanding cultural landscape.

Don’t forget to explore it’s historic towns with fairytale châteaux.

More than 2000 years of history

Planted more than 2000 years ago, the vineyard around Nantes is the oldest of the Loire Valley. In fact, the Romans were the first to grow vines in this area. Then, the 5th century was the beginning of the Loire Valley viticulture whose trade was facilitated through the Loire river. Over the years, the wine region increased its visibility thanks to the French and English crowned heads who encouraged people to discover these lovely wines.

From the devastation to the renowned

The freezing winter of 1709 caused a considerable loss for the vineyards of the Loire Valley.

In addition to this, the French Revolution and the phylloxera crisis had devastating effects on the vineyard.

After these events, winegrowers from the Loire Valley rebuilt the vineyard and decided to focus on quality production. It is the birth of the well-known appellations of the wine region.

Tourism Loire Valley wine region in France
Chateau de Luynes, Loire Valley, France

Full of diversity- Five Wine Regions of Loire Valley

The Loire Valley has great diversity and it is further diveded in several distinct wine regions, each with its own characteristic grapes, appellations and styles

Pays Nantais and Fiefs Vendéens region

Close from the Atlantic Ocean, the wine region of Nantes is the beginning of the Loire river. It extends over 15.000 hectares and comprises different types of grape varieties. This region is renowned for the appellation Muscadet, a dry white wine made from Melon de Bourgogne grape variety, which gives unique aromas to Muscadet. It is great to pair with seafood.

Moreover, the appellation Fiefs Vendéens is a great success thanks to winemakers who make exceptional wines.

Anjou-Saumur region

Prodigious land of sweet and dry white wines and authentic red wines, the Anjou-Saumur wine region offers a diversity of soils and microclimates.

Extending over 20.000 hectares, the vineyard comprises four main grape varieties.

White wines are mainly made with the grape variety Chenin Blanc

Red wines with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon

Rosé wines are mainly produced with the grape variety Grolleau.

These typical wines owe their uniqueness to the limestone-clay, tuffeau, and sandy soils.

Touraine region

Touraine wine region represents 12.000 hectares in the most diversify wine region of France, the Loire Valley.

Just like the Anjou-Saumur region, the Touraine wine region offers fine white and red wines. Besides prestigious red wine appellations such as Bourgueil, Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil, and Chinon whose Rabelais praised merits in the 16th century, It is also famous for Vouvray and Cheverny white wine appellations.

Loire River
Orléanais – Centre Loire region

Located south of the Paris Basin, this region comprises around 6.000 hectares of vineyard extended from Orléans to the foothills of the Massif Central.

The region is mostly known for the appellations Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Quincy, Reuilly, and Menetou-Salon. In fact, the diversity of limestone soils in the Centre Loire region give fine and aromatic wines. Furthermore, the semi-continental climate with microclimatic variations is ideal for the grape variety Pinot Noir which gives surprising red wines.

Auvergne region

The wine region of Auvergne is the smallest of the Loire Valley, it extends over 2.000 hectares.

Moreover, it is part of the French vineyards dating from the Gallo-Roman era. Indeed, the Romans were the first one to plant the vineyard of this appellation.

Regarding wines, the production includes white, rosé and remarkable red wines. The grape variety Gamay, which composes these red wines, brings these specific characteristics to these.

Where you can taste Loire valley wines

Wineries in Loire Valley offer diversity of experiences. Visit them and taste their remarkable typical wines!

Explore Historic Cities of Loire Valley

Loire region is full of secrets just waiting to be discovered. Do not hesitate to get lost among the castles, vineyards, old towns and all these fabulous historical monuments thanks to the many experiences that will be offered to you.

From west to east the Loire Valley wine region offers a rich heritage to discover

The Historic City of Nantes

Full of history, Nantes is the largest city in the Loire Valley. A number of monuments tell a story of striking historical events which affected Nantes. Nantes has been cited as one of the cities with the best quality of life. In addition, the city is a key economic player for France.

Whether it is the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, Les Machines de l’Île, the Cathedral or the Passage Pommeraye and Le Lieu Unique, Nantes offers a diversity of monuments and activities combining pleasure and history. With family or friends, everything is possible in this city.

Tours – The City of Art and History

In the heart of the Loire castles road, the city of Tours is the place to live well and to enjoy delicious food. The Gallo-Roman city owns several food specialities paired with the finest wines.

On the historical side, Tours was the place where Kings stayed in the Renaissance. Also, in the following centuries, it was a safe place for the French Government. Actually, they found refuge in the city during the war in 1870 and the Second World War.

Medieval buildings in Tours, France

This part of history explains the number of castles around Tours. In addition to these incredible castles, there are many monuments to visit, like the Basilica Saint-Martin de Tours, the Cathedral Saint-Gatien and so on.

Orléans, A Former Royal City

Orléans had an unquestionable place in the history of France. Due to its strategic location in the Loire river, the city is the closest to Paris, this position explains the importance of Orléans in French history.

Loire Valley wine tourism
Cathedral Sainte Croix, Orléans, France

From Ceasar to Joan of Arc up to now, the city has a rich past which is visible through the several monuments with remarkable architecture. These are Campo Santo, Sainte-Croix Cathedral, Saint-Aignan Church and many others.

Spend a good time with the family or friends in the lovely city centre, walking in the gardens and around the streets. Visiting Orléans is an enriching experience.

The Sweetness of Living in Roanne

Roanne is the ideal place for a city break close to nature. The old city centre with South-colors buildings offers a pleasant walk through its streets.

The city is famous for its Gastronomy – here, you can find world world-renowned restaurants for its gourmet cuisine.

Roanne has a rich cultural heritage, surprising monuments and lovely places to visit. The covered market of the city awakens the taste buds, Saint-Michel des Lycées Chapel is a pleasure for the eyes just like Saint-Etienne Church. These are examples, there are many other things to do to have a good time in the city of Roanne.

Are you thinking about what to eat there?

 Loire Valley wines go perfectly with the regional culinary specialties

Nantais Cake

This delicious cake has been invented around 1820 in the City of the Dukes, Nantes. At that time the quays of Nantes receive the delights such as sugar cane, amber rum and bourbon vanilla from the West Indies.

The recipe includes sugar, butter, flour, almond powder, eggs, and rum. This classic recipe is a safe bet as a dessert. Plus, the Nantais cake will be tastier if it is cooked the day before.

Loire Salmon With Sorrel

This legendary dish was invented by Pierre Troisgros in Roanne in the 1960s. Generally eaten from February to September, the recipe comprises fresh salmon fillet, fresh sorrel, shallots, crème fraîche, Vermouth and Sancerre wines, lemon, salt, and pepper.

Wine pair: the Loire salmon with sorrel goes well with young dry white wines from the Loire Valley. As for example, a Sancerre wine, Fiefs Vendéens Brem, Chinon or Saumur white wines.

Rillettes de Tours

A gastronomic specialty from Touraine, the Rillettes de Tours was created in the 15th century in the countryside of the region. 

Loire Valley wine tourism
Rillettes de Tours, regional food specialty

The main characteristic of rillettes is that they have a golden colour with a frayed texture. In fact, this is due to the long cooking of the noble pork meat in lard. Traditionally, rillettes is flavoured with Vouvray wine and served in pots, they are savoured by being placed with a fork on a slice of bread.

The andouille of Charlieu

Dating back to several centuries, this recipe is made of pork marinated in red wine, herbs, and spices during few days. After that, the meat is put in a pork casing and parboiled then refined for several days.

They recommend it to try it oven-baked together with sliced potatoes, onions, a hint of garlic and pepper. During the cooking time moisten the andouille with white wine.

Bellow, you will find more information about tourism in the region :

Don’t forget to take a look at out blog post about Loire!

Most Frequently Asked Questions about Loire Valley Wine Region

1. Where is the Tuscany wine region Loire Valley?

The Loire Valley wine region lays amid the regions of regions Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire, central France.

The region shares part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Loire River.

2. What are the most famous sub-regions and appellations in Loire Valley?

Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, and Central-Loire are the five main sub-regions on the Loire Valley. Within these, some of the most famous appellations on Loire Valley are Muscadet, Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, Rosé de Loire, Anjou Blanc, Cabernet-de-Saumur, and Cheverny.

3. What are the main grape varieties in Loire Valley?

The Loire Valley has a range of grape varieties that develop into excellent wines. On the white side Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chasselas dominate the bottles, whereas, on the red Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Cot (Malbec) win space.

4. Which wine is the Loire Valley most famous for?

When exploring wines from the Loire Valley wine region a must to try is the crisp, floral white wine of Sancerre, especially with Sauvignon Blanc grape variety.

5. What region is Loire Valley in?

The Loire Valley is often called to be in the heart of France, central region – South West of Paris.

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Region Highlights

Surface: 70000
Wineries: 7124
Soil: Limestone, sand and schist soils
Climate: Oceanic and continental climate

Selected wineries in Loire Valley

Alpha Loire
The winemaking and breeding site located at Alpha Loire allows developing a range of wines with "product" concepts that result in innovative "label" visuals.
Bertrand & Vincent Marchesseau
Visit Bertrand & Vincent Marchesseau for a unique wine tourism experience
Cave des producteurs Montlouis
Discover the fabulous maze of galleries where over two million bottles mature.
Château de Chaintres
An historic chateau with a strong family spirit.

Wine tastings & tours in Loire Valley

Audio-video visit at Cave des producteurs Montlouis
Discover the secrets of terroir during an audio-video tour at Cave des producteurs Montlouis
Become geologist for a day at Domaine de la Belle Etoile
Discover the magic influence of soils on wine at Domaine de la Belle Étoile
Chenin wine tasting and tour at Cave des producteurs Montlouis
Enjoy a Chenin wine tasting and guided tour at Cave des producteurs Montlouis
Chenin wine tasting and tour at Domaine Haute Perche
Enjoy a wine tasting of the famous Chenin grape variety along with a tour at Domaine Haute Perche

Other Wine Regions in France

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Map of Wineries in Loire Valley wine region

Discover the long wine tradition of Loire Valley and discover some of the best wineries in this region

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