Wine-growing Valley of Loire - French wine
The French vineyards of the Loire are spread out in differing concentrations along the entire valley. The vineyards are sometimes up to 80 km (50 miles) away from the river itself. There are more than 100 different types of French wine produced from the Loire valley.
These are divided into four main regions of which only the area around Nantes, Anjou-Saumur, and the Touraine form clearly defined geographical areas. The fourth region known as the 'central' region is a collection of smaller areas which do not fall within the other three larger ones. Here you will find the Sancerre wines of the Sancerrois, but also those of the Auvergne. The vineyards of the Cote Roannaise and the Cote de Forez also belong to the Loire wines but because of their character and geographical origins they have been dealt with in the section on Beaujolais.
PAYS NANTAIS FRENCH WINES
The area around the town of Nantes is mainly known for Muscadet, which is of exceptional quality. Depending on their position, Muscadets are categorised within four different appellations: Muscadet, Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, Muscadet Cotes de Grand-Lieu, and Muscadet de Sevre et Maine. The underlying strata through the Muscadet growing area is principally blue or grey slate, gneis, and primeval alluvial deposits, with some strata of volcanic origin. The bedrock of igneous rock and granite is criss-crossed by countless small valleys which ensure good drainage. This is also very necessary because of the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The climate here is a moderate maritime one with mild winters and often damp summers.
This Frech wine may come from anywhere within the defined area but usually excludes wines from the three more specific appellations (see below).
MUSCADET COTEAUX DE LA LOIRE
This French wine is produced from vineyards around the small town of Ancenis, on the banks of the Loire.
MUSCADET COTES DE GRAND-LIEU
This quality French wine originates from the hills surrounding the small lake of Grand-Lieu, south of Nantes. This appellation has only been permitted since 1994.
MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE
This French wine accounts for 80-85% of the production and this is where the best Muscadets originate. These vineyards are distributed through 23 communes on the banks of the rivers Sevre Nantaise and Petite Maine, from which the name is derived. The landscape is hillier than the rest of the Muscadet-growing area. This appellation has been recognised since 1936. All Muscadets are made exclusively with the unique Muscadet grape, also known originally as Melon de Bourgogne. This variety has been entirely forgotten in Burgundy from which it originated but here they are lionised. The better Muscadet is vinified and bottled off its sediment or lees mise en bouteille sur lie. This traditional method guarantees great freshness and enhances the fine taste and aroma of the wine but unfortunately it also increases the price. Muscadet is dry and has a fine fresh bouquet. Drinking temperature for this Muscadet French wine: 7-10°C (44.6-50°F).
GROS PLANT DU PAYS NANTAIS VDQS.
Gros Plant is de local name of the Folie Blanche grape variety from Charentes. French wine from the Folie Blanche is tart and very acidic and is used in Charentes as the basis for distilling Cognac.In the area around Nantes these grapes produce a very searing wine, high in acidity, and generally a somewhat rustic character.
Gros Plant du Pays Nantais is always very dry and harsh and is therefore not to everyone's taste. Drinking temperature for this Gros Plant French wine: 8-9°C (46.4-48.2°F).