The Loire Valley total wine production is the third largest AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée) area in France.
It is the largest white wine region in France, and the second largest for sparkling wine. The length of the river and the diversity in soils and climates make the Loire Valley the only region in France to produce excellent wines of every variety. Red, white or rosé, still or sparkling, dry or sweet.
The Loire Valley wine region includes the French wine regions located along the Loire River from the Muscadet region near the city of Nantes on the Atlantic coast to the region of Sancerre in north central France. In between are the regions of Anjou, Saumur, Bourgueil, Chinon, and Vouvray.
The area includes 87 appellations. While the majority of production is white wine from the Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc and Melon de Bourgogne grapes, there are red wines made (especially around the Chinon and Bourgueil region) from Cabernet franc. In addition to still wines, rosé, sparkling and dessert wines are also produced. It is as well the second largest sparkling wine producer in France after Champagne.
The white wines of the Coteaux du Layon, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Savennières, and Vouvray are based on Chenin blanc and are known for their high acidity when young and ability to develop and age well.
The villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire are known for their crisp and herbaceous Sauvignon blancs. Some producers in the area are experimenting with oak aging their Sauvignon blanc to give them more rounder and softer appeal. However the large majority of the wine makers stick to "non oaky wines" to preserve a maximum for fruitiness.
The villages of Bourgueil, Chinon and Saumur are known for their Cabernet franc based wines that range from light and fruity in Saumur to rich and velvety in Chinon. The Muscadet wines from the Pays de la Loire are made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape and are known for their citrus and mineral notes.