Loire Valley - French Wine School

Loire Valley

FRANCE’S GARDEN WITH ARISTOCRATIC CHATEAUX

Wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc

climate: continental

Get to know Loire Valley

Possibly the most aristocratic place in France with its exquisite Chateaux and gardens and the most central of France’s wine regions.

The region’s prime vineyards and wine châteaux are all scattered close to the Loire, and most within striking distance of the towns of Nantes, Angers, Saumur and Tours.

The Loire River itself flows from Cevennes to the Atlantic Coast stretching for more than a 1,000 km. Flanked by both pastoral and graceful landscapes surrounding the many Chateaux, it is known as the garden of France.

In 2000 the central portion of the Loire was designated as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Map highlights the major wine regions and how they are divided.

Nantes

Pays Nantais / Lower Loire

The region's largest town is near the Muscadet region, home to crisp white wines made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. It can be a good base for exploring local vineyards and wineries, as well as the attractions of this regional capital.

Pays Nantais is the westernmost Loire Valley subregion. Vineyards are generally flat and within 10-100 kms of the Atlantic Coast.

Pictured: Image by Franck Barske from Pixabay

Anjou and Saumur

Middle Loire

Saumur is the centre of the region's sparkling-wine production, a rival to Champagne made with the Chenin Blanc grape, while the area around Saumur-Champigny make red wine based on the Cabernet Franc grape.
Close to the many local châteaux, as well as Fontevraud, a magnificent 12th-century Benedictine abbey containing the tombs of the English kings Richard I and Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Also nearby is the pretty medieval town of Chinon, with nearby vineyards and winemakers. Here, and in the nearby vineyards in Bourgueil and St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, wine-makers create soft, rich red wines using the Cabernet Franc grape Breton.

Further up the River Loire, explore the Château de Chenonceau, a spectacular 16th-century Gothic and early Rennaissance castle built on the River Cher.

Pictured: Image by Franck Sabat from Pixabay

Centre and Upper Loire

The Centre Loire produces some of the Loire’s most famous wine whereas in the Upper Loire the wine produced is the most unknown. The region has a distinct continental climate and is most known for almost exclusively Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in the Centre which can be found worldwide.

The Upper Loire grapes changes to Chardonnay and Sacy whites, and reds and Rose’s of Gamay and Pinot Noir. The latter rarely seen outside of France. Whilst the wine from the Upper Loire may be less known, the region is well worth a visit. The charm is in the diversity of its landscape which is made up of striking contrasts. Steep mountains merge with rolling hills that give way to deep forests and scattered amid are the many rustic villages of the region.​

Planning your trip

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Loire Valley wine events

VitiLoire (May)

More than 100 wineries from around the Loire Valley gather in Tours to offer free tastings and sell their wine.

Vines, Wines and Walks (August/September)

Join a winemaker on an organised three hour walk through Loire Valley vineyards from many AOCs.  The festive weekend also has sensory tasting workshops and special walks for families and English speakers.

Want to learn more about Loire Valley?

Experience Loire Valley by taking an online course, attending a tasting or travelling to the region for yourself.

Online Courses

Learn more about Loire Valley through an interactive online course

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Tastings & Events

Join a Loire Valley wine tasting event and connect with the FWS Community

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Travel Experiences

Learn more about Loire Valley by travelling to the region

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