|France - Loire Valley|
The Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (from Chalonnes-sur-Loire to Sully-sur-Loire), is the third largest wine-producing area of France, stretching from the Atlantic to the Centre Region. It is the meeting point between north and south, freshness and sensuality, art and literature, tradition and modernity.
These harmonious blends, helped by a temperate climate and fertile soil have combined to produce a rich variety of well-known wines: Layon, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, Chinon etc..
The Loire, a key player in the vine-growing landscape
The Loire plays a central role with regard to Loire Valley wines, both geographically and historically. The rich pattern of soils and different facing slopes has led to the development of varied and subtle soils nourished by a generally temperate climate. Along the Loire and its tributaries are to be found micro-climates favourable for vines, contributing to the rich variety of its wines. The Loire vineyards were first cultivated in the 5th century under the influence of the nobility and religious institutions established in the region. They blossomed from the 12th century thanks to the "royal" status of the river which allowed wine and other goods to be carried between the main river ports (Sancerre, Orléans, Vouvray, Tours, Nantes, etc.), and the gradual introduction of new vine species.
The Loire Valley - a medley of 63 AOC wines
The Loire Valley is renowned for the variety of its wines, with 63 appellation controlée wines together producing 400 million bottles. It is the leading white wine producer in France. It is also the leading area for AOC sparkling wines (Vouvray, Saumur, Montlouis). With its production of red, rosé and white wines, the economic importance of the industry to the area is illustrated by the figures: 7,000 wine-producers, 100 trading firms, 24 cooperative cellars, 33,000 direct jobs. Marketing Loire wines generates a turnover, primarily from sales to the restaurant trade, followed by direct sales to private customers, and finally to supermarkets which account for a quarter of total sales. Exports account for a fifth of production (70 million bottles).
More information: www.vinsdeloire.fr
The Loire Valley - a landscape to be savoured
The vineyards are among the outstanding features of the Loire landscape which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Discovering this landscape increases the enjoyment of its wines. Along the 800-km-long vineyard route are many spectacular riverside spots. The vineyards can be explored on foot or by cycle, or even by hot-air balloon, with sign-posted footpaths and cycle tracks inviting the visitor to explore the natural and cultural heritage of the Loire valley: chateaux and monuments, river banks, villages, troglodyte caves, etc. To complete the picture, many events linking the vine and the arts, especially literature, add to the enjoyment of the Loire Valley, its landscape and its wines.