Loire Valley

The Loire is a tremendous region offering the wine lover great diversity. There are all the styles of wine one could wish for: dry, medium, sweet, white, red, rosé, still or sparkling.

A vinous journey along the Loire Valley takes in crisp Muscadets around Nantes, the gorgeously sweet ‘moëlleux’ Chenin Blancs of the Coteaux du Layon and the superbly complex dry Savennières from around Angers, then the more immediately appealing whites and sparkling wines of Saumur. Cabernet Franc makes the luscious reds of Anjou and the autumnal reds of Chinon and Bourgueil. Continuing upstream leads you to the famous whites of Vouvray and finally on to the Touraine, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and Menetou-Salon where Sauvignon Blanc reigns supreme.

Dry White

Possibly the best value wine region in France, Muscadet is home to growers such as François Bonhomme, producer of excellent value wines; the very talented Jérémie Huchet at Domaine de la Chauvinière; and brothers Rémi and Jean-Jacques Bonnet at Bonnet-Huteau where they farm both organically and biodynamically. The region is undergoing a renaissance on the back of the creation of its new Crus Communaux, a classification system for the region’s top vineyards which includes: Le Pallet, Clisson, Gorges, Mouzillon-Tillières, Monnières-Saint-Fiacre, Goulaine and Château-Thébaud. Two more are waiting in the wings to be promoted. Muscadet is the superlative sea-food match, designed for drinking with langoustines and oysters in nearby Brittany. Get them now before everyone wakes up!

Sancerre & Upper Loire
Terrific, world-renowned wines come from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in the Upper Loire, or Central Vineyards of France. The names here are as famous as any: Sancerre, the herbaceous, crisp, dry, white produced by the likes of Jean-Max Roger in Bué and the Dezat family in nearby Verdigny who also produce wines in neighbouring Pouilly Fumé, home to the textbook gunflint aromas and steely, refreshing wines. Here, also, Alain and Jérome Pabiot produce whites from the celebrated flint/silex soil as does the superb Château de Tracy. Slightly less well known but equally as interesting are the AOCs of Menetou-Salon where the Rogers create super wines; in Quincy, growers such as Pierre Ragon at Domaine Trotereau produce rounder, softer wines from sandier soil.

Saumur & Middle Loire
The ‘Garden of France’, between Angers and Tours, makes all styles of wines. It must be one of the most versatile regions of France. The food-friendly steely wines of Savennières from the excellent Domaines des Forges, and the fuller more opulent Chenin Blancs from Saumur from the dynamic Domaine de la Paleine. Then to Tours just beyond which is Vouvray country where Alex Monmousseau’s Château Gaudrelle is a lesson in balance. The rest of this region sees the transformation from Chenin to Sauvignon Blanc take place and the Touraine Sauvignon Les Silex from Philippe Trotignon offers terrific value.


Moëlleux Sweet Wine
Coteaux du Layon and Bonnezeaux produce the epitome of sweet wines from Chenin Blanc. Here Stéphane Branchereau shows what can be done with dedication, skill and tiny yields in the Coteaux du Layon, Chaume and Quarts de Chaume vineyards of Domaine des Forges.


Both the Dezats and the Rogers produce light and delicate rosés from the Pinot Noir grape. Pale, subtle and gorgeous the ideal match for crustaceans or light summer salads.


The reds of the Middle Loire are dominated by Cabernet Franc making exhuberant, fragrant wines in Saumur and Saumur-Champigny, where Philippe Vatan and his daughter produce serious, world-class red wines at Château du Hureau, before one heads towards Chinon where the wines of Domaine Charles Joguet can compete with fine Bordeaux for class. The lighter reds of Sancerre are from Pinot Noir; juicy and lighter in alcohol, they are ideal for light dishes or lunch!