A Guide to wines of the Loire Valley
Selected Loire Valley wines
Wine appellations of the Loire Valley
Selected Loire Valley wines
If you thought Valençay was the name of a cheese, you would not be wrong. Valençay goat cheese, with its unique truncated pyramid shape and charcoal grey crust, is famous throughout France and beyond. Inside it is a soft, white cheese made from unpasteurized milk, which becomes firmer and granular if aged. Acid and lightly salty, it has hazelnut, dried fruits and mushroom aromas.
AOC Valençay cheese is a classic French goats cheese, widely available in local shops and markets which must be tried when you visit the region.
The other AOC Valençay, and the subject of this review, is for the white, red and rosé wines of the area surrounding the town of Valençay, running down to the river Cher in the north.
The wines are normally blended, with regulations allowing each producer to create particular variations which reflect the season, their own land and taste.
This is a very ancient wine producing region (with the first written records dating back to 965) and Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand Périgord, Napoléon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, served Valençay wines during the many grand feasts held at the Château de Valençay.
Location: The appelation includes around 30 wine producers across 12 communes and two départements - 11 towns and villages in the Indre and Selles-sur-Cher in the Loir-et-Cher). Chabris, home to Loire Valley Wine Tour, is located in the AOC Valençay. There is a small co-operative of three members with a good reputation.
Surface Area: 165 hectares / 410 acres of vines
Yeild: 65 hl/ha for red and rosé wine, 60 hl/ha for white
Soil: Vines are planted on medium slopes overlooking the River Cher and its tributaries, where two types of soil predominate: - Siliceous clay, (“perruches”) - sandy silt on a clay subsoil with a high proportion of stones, called “argile a cosses” and dating back to the Senonian and Turonian periods.
Climate: The climate is oceanic to continental with one distinctive feature setting it apart from its neighbours: the forest to the west of the appellation help make Valençay drier and warmer than the surrounding regions.
Annual Production: 2,700 hectolitres (71,300 gal) of red wine, 3,500 hl (92,700 gal) of white and 1,000 hl (26,400 gal) rosé.
Grape Varieties: White: Sauvignon Blanc (alone or to a minimum of 70%) with the authorised addition of Arbois Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Chardonnay.
Red: Gamay Noir (30-60%), Pinot Noir (minimum 10%), Côt (minimum 10%) with the authorised, discretionary addition of Cabernet Franc (20%).Rosé: The same varietals as reds, with the possibility of adding Pineau d’Aunis to the blend.
Valençay white: Excellent freshness with citrus fruits and spring flowers vying for attention on the nose. A balanced palate makes this the perfect partner for fish and goat’s cheese.
Valençay red: Expressive aromas of Gamay and Pinot Noir blend harmoniously with the structure of Côt and Cabernet. Elegance and freshness on the palate give these wines a distinctive character, making them the ideal partner for red meat, both grilled and served in sauce.
Valençay rosé: A true summer wine: fresh and fruity, supple with good structure, and can hold its own at mealtimes. Serve with fine charcuterie and world cuisine. Of course, Valençay wines make excellent partners for the local Valençay AOP goat’s cheese: the only place in France where a wine and a cheese share the same name.
Storage: These wines are generally drunk young, but the reds will age nicely for up 5 years or so, depending on the blend.
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.