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Having a few go-to bottles of wine on hand is always a good idea. However, knowing which wines to stock up on is key. In a sea of delicious juice, choosing the best bang-for-your-buck options can be tricky. We’re here to let you in on an insider tip: scoping out the Loire Valley section is always a good idea.`
There’s Something for Everyone
Although a variety of grapes and winemaking styles are found in the Loire Valley, you can pretty much know that what you’re getting will be fresh, crowd-pleasing, and super easy to drink. The Loire Valley’s cool climate helps keep acid high in grapes, which in turn, translates to refreshing wines that promise to keep your palate quenched all day long. Whether zesty whites, fruit-driven rosés, or earthy reds are more your thing, the Loire Valley’s definitely got something delicious for you.
Loire Valley Wines Are Insanely Food-Friendly
Because of their naturally high acidity and low to moderate levels of tannins (in reds), wines from the Loire Valley are extremely versatile on the table. No matter what’s on the menu, there’s a bottle from the Loire Valley to pair with it.
For fresh seafood and raw bar favorites, grab a bottle of Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne) from the Loire’s eponymous western appellations, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine or Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire. Crisp salads or fresh goat cheese on deck? Look no further than an acid-driven bottle of Loire Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine. For meats, roasted veggies, and crockpot stews, chilling a bottle of earthy Cabernet Franc from Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Saumur, or Anjou-Villages Saumur-Champigny is always a good idea. And for charcuterie boards, Mediterranean-inspired mezze, and a variety of happy hour hors d’oeuvres, Rosé d’Anjou’s got your back.
They Won’t Break the Bank
Contrary to popular belief, not all great wine is expensive – and juice from the Loire Valley perfectly embodies that statement. In comparison to other well-known regions, wines from the Loire Valley will often cost a fraction of their French counterparts. In this westerly French region, great wines can be found at all price points, especially in the sub-$20 category. At this price point, we recommend seeking out bottles from Touraine, Anjou, and Saumur-Champigny. Drinking well on a budget never tasted so good.
Many Loire Valley Wines Are Sustainable
On the topic of drinking well, we believe that great wine should not only be easy to drink, but also be responsibly made. This means that fruit should be farmed organically/sustainably, and that environmentally-friendly practices should be respected in the winery. Over the last few decades, the Loire Valley has become somewhat of a hotbed for natural winemaking, meaning that many of its growers farm sustainably and use this minimalist mindset in the cellar. Sipping well without a guilty conscience? Count us in.
They Embody French Bistro Culture
Looking to relive your last trip to Paris at home? Then you absolutely need to bring a few bottles of Loire Valley wines to your table. Loire Valley wines are served en carafe at nearly every French bistro across the city, and it’s no surprise why: they’re affordable, they’re delicious, and they pair well with a variety of classic bistro dishes. Whip up some steak tartare, boeuf bourguignon, or cheesy gratin, pop a chilled bottle, and get ready for an instant mental transport back to the City of Lights.
Loire Valley Wines Are Great Year-Round
The versatility and food-friendliness of wines from the Loire Valley make them perfect for sipping year-round. We tend to operate outside of ‘wine stereotypes,’ meaning that we find ourselves popping Loire Valley rosés in the winter, reds (chilled) in the summer, and refreshing whites whenever the occasion feels right. Not sure where to begin? Here a few major grape varieties to get acquainted with:
Chenin Blanc - This indigenous Loire Valley variety is one of the most versatile grapes on the planet. The wines’ signature flavors of yellow apples, green apple skin, honey, and crushed rocks are appealing to a variety of palate preferences. If you love Chardonnay or richer white wines from Spain, you’re going to love these textured bottles. Wines crafted from Chenin Blanc are generally medium to full-bodied and range from bone dry to dessert sweet. Some of the region’s most highly regarded appellations for Chenin Blanc production are Saumur, Vouvray, and Savennières. For those looking for delicious sweet wine options, search for bottles from Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume, or Coteaux du Layon. Chenin Blanc is used in the production of both still and sparkling wines.
Sauvignon Blanc - What’s not to love about Sauvignon Blanc? This crisp, high-acid variety produces some of the most thirst-quenching wines from various regions around the world, however, Loire Valley expressions are a bit specific. Contrary to their New World counterparts, SB from the Loire Valley tends to err on the more flinty and smoky side. These unique signature flavors make these wines even more fun to drink (and pair with a variety of snacks, of course). You can rely on a Touraine, Touraine-Chenonceaux, Touraine-Oisly or Touraine-Mesland.
Cabernet Franc - Cabernet Franc is one of the most interesting varieties on the planet. When produced in the Loire Valley, these wines are known for their flavors of red fruit, bell pepper, potting soil, and spice. If roasted veggies, grilled meats, or crockpot stews are on the menu, snagging a bottle of Cabernet Franc is always a good idea. Look for labels from Saumur, Saumur-Champigny, or Chinon for some of the region’s best expressions, and serve slightly chilled for an even tastier drinking experience.
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