The diverse soil and landscapes of the Loire Valley produce a wide range of wines, including dry whites, sweet wines, reds (both "primeur" wines and wines for ageing), rosés and sparkling wines. Renowned for their lightness and typical characteristics, these wines are the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
The vineyards around Tours include 9 AOC wines - not all the wines referred to as "vin de Touraine" are necessarily AOC wines.
Red wines include Bourgueil, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Chinon. The Cabernet Franc grape variety (sometimes known as the "Breton" variety) used in these wines has contributed to their excellent reputation. This grape variety, which is full of character, produces young wines which are light and fruity, as well as some stunning wines with a high tannin content which are perfect for laying down. Situated to the west of the département, these areas also enjoy their own particular microclimate, thanks to the confluence of the Loire and Vienne rivers.
The star varietal for Loire Valley white wines is the Chenin grape, which produces two renowned wines: Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire. These two appellations are located on either side of the Loire, the former on the hillsides of the north bank and the latter on the south. Chenin wines age very well and this variety produces dry whites as well as delicious syrupy wines. It is also used to make sparkling wines with a lovely golden colour.
The final AOC in the Tours region, occupying the remainder of the vineyards in the area, is the Touraine appellation, which produces red, white and rosé wines. In addition, there are three local appellations, Touraine-Amboise, Touraine-Noble Joué and Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau, which are produced in a specific area. Touraine wines are usually light and easy to drink. The main grape varieties used are Gamay (for reds) and Sauvignon (for whites).
With its many valleys and sunny hillsides, the Touraine region offers perfect conditions for growing grapes. On lightly rolling plateaux, vines extend as far as the eye can see, dotted every so often with magnificent properties alongside its country lanes.
Why not follow the Loire Valley wine route and explore the region's wine estates, meet its enthusiastic wine-producers, visit their wine cellars and taste some of the area's characteristic wines? You'll find that the hot summers of the past few years have produced some very interesting vintages.
Learn all about wine-making and vineyards in the region by following the Route Touristique des Vignobles along the Loire and meeting the professionals involved in the wine industry.