A Guide to wines of the Loire Valley
Selected Loire Valley wines
Wine appellations of the Loire Valley
Selected Loire Valley wines
On a promontory of land between the Loire and the Cher, up-river from the city of Tours, Montlouis-sur-Loire has for centuries been growing Pineau de Loire (Chenin blanc) as Vouvray wine.
The wines of Montlouis-sur-Loire are unique however, and when the AOC system was introduced in the 1930's, Montlouis went its own way under its own name.
A number of Montlouis-sur-Loire producers also have vineyards in Vouvray and tastings which compare similar styles of wine from the two appelations made during the same year can be very revealing. Those which are grown in Vouvray but vinified in Montlouis are obliged to be labeled as Touraine or Val de Loire wines, but are no less delicious for that!
The appelation produces white wines of all styles from a single grape - Chenin blanc - but growers on the south-facing slopes above the river Cher may also produce Touraine wines. This enables them to cultivate a range of white and red grape varieties including Sauvignon blanc, Gamay, Cabernet franc and many others.
Location: The appelation includes around 50 wine producers in three communes. An active production and marketing co-operative has 15 members. It is bordered by the Loire to the north, the Cher to the south and the forest of Amboise to the east. It is situated in the Indre-et-Loire department of the region Centre-Val de Loire.
Vineyards: AOP Montlouis-sur-Loire wine is produced in Lussault sur Loire, St Martin le Beau and Montlouis sur Loire.
Surface Area: 450 hectares / 1,112 acres
Yeild: 52 hl/ha for still wine, 65 hl/ha for sparkling
Soil: Mostly clay and flint soils with roots entering a lower layer of limestone; soils hold moisture well, even in dry years.
Climate: Temperate with oceanic weather systems arriving via the river vallies. Conducive to good ripening of fruit, with sweet wines produced when the autumn weather conditions are warm and sunny. Rainfall averages 26 inches per year.
Annual Production: White: 4,400 hl / 116,236 gallons; Sparkling: 9,400 hl / 248,322 gallons
Grape Variety: Chenin blanc
Wine styles: Still white wines: Sec (dry: up to 5g residual sugar per l.), Demi-sec (semi dry: 8-25g), Moelleux (sweet: 25-45g), Doux or Liquoreux (very sweet: +45g)
Sparkling wines: Méthodes Traditionnelles (two fermentations, pressure +3 Bar), Pétillants (two fermentations, pressure 1-2.5 Bar), Pétillants Originels (single fermentation, no added sugar)
White Appearance: An intense, bright colour ranging from straw yellow for sparkling and still wines, to golden with hints of amber for mature dessert wines.
Nose: Already very appealing when young,(with white flowers, verbena, citrus and brioche for sparkling wines), the wines of Montlouis-sur-Loire go on to develop notes of almonds, quince, honey and wax, with striking minerality.
Palate: Montlouis wines are soft and sensual or rounded and luscious depending on their level of sweetness, but all retain a delicious edge of freshness. The dry whites are rich and elegant.
Serving suggestions: Robust, full-flavoured foods.
Dry whites: Fillet of pike-perch, bream in white wine, a rich quiche lorraine, salmon, scallops in cream sauce.
Tendre: Fillet of sea-bass, poultry with a spiced stuffing, veal sweetbreads with wild mushrooms. Asian dishes, poultry, charcuterie, goats cheese.
Sweet: exotic and spicy dishes, white peaches poached in Montlouis-sur-Loire wine, frozen honey nougat, rhubarb tart, blue cheese.
Sparkling wine makes a good ‘special occasion’ aperitif and a fine alternative to dry whites when served with food.
Storage: These wines are beautifully long-lived, evolving subtly over the first 10 years, then opening up gradually.
The Loire Valley produces wine in a wide range of colours and styles. Our tours give you a unique opportunity to taste these wines, look at the production facilities and often meet the owners. As enthusiasts ourselves, we make a point of seeking out the best.