The Loire is like the Mississippi River of France. It’s long, in the middle of the country, there are a bunch of farms, and everyone there drinks a lot. Rather than corn, there are grapes, and that’s something to be excited about.
If the Loire Valley were a sushi restaurant where the train comes around with all the different pieces on a conveyor belt there would be 8 options with a couple specials that not many people actually like.
Much like in the rest of France you’ll see the sub-regions of the Loire on the label rather than the grapes. Here’s a rundown on what to know from Loire valley regions.
Regions to look for:
Muscadet: This is low in alcohol, salty in flavor, and ultra crisp. It’s not made to age.
Anjou: Some of the best producers making dry chenin blanc are here.
Saumur Champigny and Saumur: If you see this on a label, it’s cabernet franc (red) or chenin blanc (white). There’s a good amount of natural wine in this region.
Vouvray: There’s one producer from here named Huet which you’ll see a lot. This is also chenin blanc but often with some sweetness.
Sancerre: This is 100% sauvignon blanc always. If it’s red, it’s pinot noir. This is the good stuff.
Menetou Salon: Also 100% sauvignon blanc.
Cremant: If you see this anywhere, it’s sparkling. It can be a blend of grapes. Usually it tastes like a light style of Champagne. It’s often more complex than prosecco, but still good for a spritz.
Producers to look for: