By Kori ~ April 26th, 2011.
This week’s Wine Word of the Week is Loire.
Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Loire is France’s most famous river and name of one of its most varied wine regions whose wines are greatly appreciated locally and in Paris, but—with the famous exceptions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume—are still widely underrated outside France. ….
At the mouth of the Loire, Melon de Bourgogne and Folle Blanche predominate. The upper Loire is, in the early 21st century anyway, the terrain of Sauvignon Blanc for white wines and Pinot Noir for reds and rosés. The majority of the most successful sites in the middle Loire have proved themselves suitable for either Cabernet Franc or Chenin Blanc, but in the thousands of hectares of vineyard planted around them, there is a greater diversity of vine varieties than anywhere else in France, including a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Gamay, Meunier, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and of course seas of Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. ….
Of all French wine regions, the Loire produces the greatest diversity of wine styles: from still through all types of sparkling wine….
Layman’s terms from Kori:
The Loire Valley is France’s third largest wine region. It is a long, narrow region that runs predominately east/west along the Loire River. The region spans about 600 miles. The Loire Valley includes 65 appellations and produces wines from over a dozen grape varieties. There is great diversity in Loire Valley wines due to its wide range of microclimates. Loire Valley wines are very food-friendly and are the most popular wines ordered in restaurants in France. Cabernet Franc was the Loire’s first red grape variety, and it thrives there, particularly in Chinon and Bourgueil.
Filed under: French Wine, Wine Word of the Week