The Loire Valley - Anjou-Saumur and Touraine - Grape varieties

5 important questions on The Loire Valley - Anjou-Saumur and Touraine - Grape varieties

What are the principal grape varieties in the Middle Loire?

  • Chenin Blanc for dry off-dry and sweet white wines
  • Cabernet Franc for red wines and as a contributor to Rosé
  • Sauvignon Blanc is the key white variety in Touraine

Chenin Blanc - Grape Growing

  • Buds early making it prone to spring frosts
  • Vigorous grape variety and if allowed can carry high yields
  • Prone to Powdery Mildew, botrytis bunch, trunk diseases
  • (possitive effect of botrytis for making sweet wines
  • It ripens late vulnerable to the onset of autmn rains
  • Chenin Blanc ripens unevenly for the best quality it has to be picked on several passes through the vineyard pickubg by hand are necessary adding to costs.

Chenin Blanc -  style

  • Chenin blanc is the dominant grape variety in the middle Loire where it produces a wide range of styles, sparkling wine, dry, off dry and sweet wines.
  • Dry and off dry wines have medium intensity aromas of green apple and lemon  (sometimes with a steely smoky character) medium alcohol, and noticeable high acidity often balanced with some residual sugar for an off dry style
  • Typically good to very good in quality and in expensive to mid-pirced with some outstanding and premium priced options
  • Outstanding quality producer eg Domaine Huet

Cabernet Franc - grape growing

  • Cabernet Franc is an early budding variety making it prone to spring frost
  • It is also prone to coulure and therefore reduction in yields
  • Mid - ripening variety  - it can often be picked before autumn rains begin
  • Its winter hardy - good variety for cool areas
  • If not ripened fully it can taste excessive leafy/herbaceous - better canopy management avoiding dense canopies (leaf removal)

Cabernet France -Style

  • In the middle Loire CF wines typically have medium to pronounced red fruit (redcurrant, raspberry) floral (violet) and leafy aromas. A light to medium body, medium tannins and high acidity
  • In the Loire valley CF used to make single varietal wines or part of rose blend
  • Eastern Touraine ripens fully it can be blended with Cot

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