The Loire Valley of France

Written By: 
James Ginley

Off the beaten path, but worth the trip

Le Paradis Chinon 2015
Loire Valley, France, $11

After Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Cabernet Franc is the third blending grape of Bordeaux. It is medium-bodied and somewhat tannic, with tobacco and spice notes. The highly porous, rocky soil is ideal for this hardy grape and results in slightly tannic red, white and rosé wines that are balanced and flavorful. This red is a delight when paired with lighter beef dishes and heavy cheeses.

Le Fils des Gras Moutons Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2015
Loire Valley, France, $14

Melon de Bourgogne is the unique name of the grape that makes this light-bodied wine perfect for oysters, mussels and shrimp. Sur lie means “on the lees,” or aging the wine on the dead yeast cells. This is a good thing that gives the wine a mature, toasty flavor. Don’t confuse with muscadine, a sweeter grape that’s native to America.

Le Clos Chartier Sancerre 2015
Loire Valley, France, $19

Sancerre is not as pronounced as New World styles nor does it have the grassy note of New Zealand, but some believe it is the epitome of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. The palate shows bracing acidity and hints of gooseberries, grass and a bit of minerality. Try it with white fish, chicken dishes and lemony desserts.

La Cabriole Saumur Rosé 2016
Loire Valley, France, $14

A pale salmon color with a big nose of strawberry, blackberry and cherry, plus citrus notes and a bit of violet in the mouth, which is typical for the Cabernet Franc grape. The lingering finish is fresh and crisp, and this rosé goes well with apps, salads and lighter dishes. Saumur is a city and appellation in the central Loire Valley, close to Anjou, which produces many rosés.

La Vallee Coquette Vouvray 2015
Loire Valley, France, $14

Available as a still wine and sparkling, the Chenin Blanc grape is known for its elegant, light and fragrant style. Either version offers delicate fruit and can range from dry to sweet. Due to high acidity, the sparkling version known as “Demi-Sec,” or semi sweet, can be cellared and will improve in bottle. Enjoy as an aperitif or with vegetables and chicken dishes.

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PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE WINERIES