Loire Valley wine – Wineries
300 kilometres separate the towns of Blois and Nantes. With the Loire linking them together, many terroirs and appellations live side by side (Vouvray, Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur, Anjou, Muscadet, etc.), so forming the 3rd largest vineyard in France, with 57,000 hectares of vines. Wine-growing region par exellence, Touraine is home to around a hundred wineries near the castles of the Loire Valley.
It is often said that in France, wine is a religion; in Touraine, we are particularly religious! A short tour round the Touraine wineries gives visitors a very good idea of the full diversity of Loire Valley wines: still or sparkling, whites, reds and rosés, sec, demi-sec or sweet.
It is also a beautiful collection of portraits that awaits you: whether they are independent winegrowers or employees of a cooperative winery, they are all enthusiasts who are eager to share their knowledge: the history of their vineyard and viticulture in Loire Valley, choice of grape varieties, vine management, terroir, winemaking techniques, food and wine pairings…
If you wish to be accompanied in your discovery of the Loire Valley wine and its cellars, Vincent Delaby (Vinoloire) will be able to propose an excursion adapted to your desires (transport, walks in the vineyards, cellar visit, commented tasting…), as will Audrey Wambre (Âme Wine) and her “oenoludiques” moments. Even better than a travel guide!
Discovering Loire Valley wine
On the red wine side, the Cabernet Franc grape variety reigns supreme to the west of Tours for the AOCs of Bourgueil, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Chinon. It’s a perfect match for the soils and climate, borne out by the American and Belgian wine tourists who, during their stay in France, do not hesitate to come and push the door of our wineries.
To the east, the range of grape varieties is expanding: although Cabernet is still there (on its own or in a blend), you can also sample Gamay and Pinot Noir wines and, above all, wines produced from the Côt variety which is beginning to carve a nice place for itself under the Loire sunshine.
Among the whites, wines produced from the Chenin grape variety accompany every moment of the meal: a dry Montlouis as an apéritif, a dry Vouvray with the crudités or seafood, a semi-dry Montlouis with sushi, white meat and ripe cheeses, and, of course, a sweet Vouvray for a fruit dessert. Not to mention Touraine Sauvignon and its exotic notes of citrus, the Grolleau grape variety of Azay-le-Rideau, blended or pressed rosés, blush wines (Noble-Joué)… each of the Loire Valley wineries will help you gain a better understanding of what is in your tasting glass, after having visited the vines, the barrel room and the famous troglodyte cellars.
Wine tourism: something to enjoy all year round!
In Touraine, two major wine tourism events are not to be missed: Vitiloire (the great wine festival of the Loire Valley, in Tours at the beginning of June) and Vignes Vins Randos (15 walks throughout the Loire Valley vineyards, at the beginning of September).
Alongside these events, and in addition to the many open days proposed by the winegrowers, many other events punctuate the calendar: the Bourgueil wine festival (end of March) and Bourgueil à table (dinners from April to July, born from the meeting of chefs and winegrowers), the Amboise wine fair (Easter weekend and 15 August), winegrowers in Chinon (mid-April), Festivin at the cave de la Sibylle (1 May), the Vouvray wine fair (at Pentecost and on 15 August), the Biotyfoule organic wine fair in Tours (end of November).
Here are also two guest rooms linked to wine estates: the Château de Fontenay, the Clos de l’Epinay. Moreover, the owner of the Fabrique de Parcius being a sommelier, he offers you during your stay oenological initiations.
Also note that throughout the year, multiple wine tourism activities are offered in the estates:
- an escape game dedicated to the world of wine, at Domaine Pierre and Bertrand Couly;
- a horse-drawn carriage ride, at the Domaine de Noiré;
- a visit to the “Vintage Odyssey”, in the Duhard cellars, but also to the Cave de la Sibylle;
- the many activities of the “Rendez-vous dans les vignes” (Alain Robert vineyard);
- a troglodyte & wine bar duo at the Dive Bouteille cellar,
- access to the picnic barrel on Mount Sigou, in the vineyard of the Lamé-Delisle-Boucard house ;
- visits to the great troglodytic cellars, at the Vouvray wine cellar, at Blanc Foussy – Grandes Caves Saint-Roch (children’s trail proposed), at the Montlouis producers’ cellar (with a videoguide);
- wine trails, at the Château de l’Aulée, the Château de la Grille, the Château de Minière, and the Plou et Fils estate.