TOUR DE WINE: Loire Valley, France


Today we're in Loire Valley, pronounced 'lu-are' if you want to sound like a fancy pants later when you talk to your mates about the Tour. We bloody love this region, and we've made some Oz similar suggestions, but if you can get a real deal Frenchie wine from one of our specialist wine stores, do yourself a favour and try one on for size - you won't be disappointed.

Where Is It:

On the west coast of France, north of Bordeaux, and stretching 280kms along the banks of the Loire River (which runs in a vague east/west direction from the coast).

What Do They Drink There:

Lots of delicious things.  Most well-known for sauvignon blanc from the villages of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, and chenin blanc, from the town of Vouvray.  There are wonderful examples of cabernet franc from a place called Chinon, Muscadet from near Nantes and some pinot noir from Sancerre. 

If the region is famous for two things, it is the incredibly long lived chenin blanc from  Vouvray and the elegant and restrained sauvignon blanc from Sancerre and Pouilly Fume.  If you’re reading this thinking “I don’t like sauvignon blanc, and I haven’t tried chenin blanc”, then the Loire Valley is everything when it comes to truly great wines in both styles.  And before you say – ‘I know chenin blanc- Amberley does one’, please stop, because the Amberley chenin is sweet, which is a style, but not the only way that chenin is made.  In fact – chenin blanc can be gloriously dry, refined and minerally, with characters of apricot, beeswax, jasmine and honeydew melon.  It can be dry or sweet, still or sparkling, oaked or unoaked.  You’ve probably seen the Marc Bredif Vouvray on winelists or good bottle shops.  Give it a go.  It’s kind of dry.  For Sancerre/Pouilly Fume, Pascale Jolivet is synonymous with high quality Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, and there are affordable examples around town.     

The Loire Valley is sometimes referred to as the Garden of France due to the abundant fruit and veggies grown there, such as cherries, artichoke and asparagus which line the banks of the river.

Why We Love It:

We’ve said why.  Lots of varieties to choose from, many of the style characterised by bright freshness, acidity and liveliness.  Lots of pure pleasure here.

Oz Equivalent?

Hmmm.  Plenty of exciting chenins coming out of Australia at the moment.  Tripe Iscariot and LAS Vino are two cool places to start in Margaret River. 

As for elegant, cool climate, textural and exciting savs to try?  You’ve probably heard of a little winery called Shaw + Smith in the Adelaide Hills.  Yeah.  The super famous one that makes one of, if not the BEST savs in Australia.  The other suggestion for you, is the Leeuwin Estate Art Series sav.  Perfection.