To come to the Loire Valley is to embark on a trip through history. The castles, of course, are here to remind us of the architectural splendor of our magnificent region, but so is our unique oenological heritage. The vineyards which produce Loire Valley wines date back to the 1st century and by the 14th century, our wines were even more sought after than those from Bordeaux. The Loire Valley vineyards are the result of the Loire river’s natural drainage throughout thousands of years which left sandy soils developed on a calcareous layer. This soil, combined with the soft heat from Nantes’s seashore, created the perfect growing grounds for our exceptional wines.
The Loire Valley wines are unique thanks to their characteristic fruitiness, crispness of flavors with fresh and mineral undertones. The acronym “AOC” is omnipresent in the Loire Valley wine culture, a very prestigious appellation, a title that grants a vineyard with a recognition that its savoir-faire and its terroir are recognized on an international level: the wines one will taste on location are made in that vineyard and that vineyard only, using the Loire grapes and the Loire grapes only. Les Sources de Cheverny is ideally situated for esteemed guests to discover the boldness and the variety that the Loire Valley vineyards can offer. Here is a suggested self-guided tour, off the beaten path, to educate the palate as well as engaging in an astounding sensorial experience to “nose” the wines, marvel at their sultry dance as they glide the glass and listen to their sparkling or liquorous whisper as they are being poured.
Touraine Mesland: Rare Vineyard, Unique Red, White, and Rosé Wines
The first stop is approximately a half-hour drive from Les Sources de Cheverny, on the other side of the Loire river, in the city of Mesland. The Loire Valley wines are often synonymous with white wine, yet this estate is one of the rare wineries that produces white, red and rosé wines. Touraine-Mesland, their AOC, produces a red wine that is subtle and with a delicate cherry scent which can be kept for a couple of years without losing that finesse. Using a unique grape, or ‘cepage’ to be more authentic called gamay and no maceration, Touraine Mesland winemakers produce a full-bodied rosé whose color and balance will be difficult to find anywhere else. As for the shining star, their white win, it is exceptionally round and intricate with hints of linden..
Montlouis: Unique Grape and Soil for a Diversity of Wines
The second stop is in Montlouis-sur-Loire, roughly a thirty-minute drive from Mesland and on the way to visit the Amboise Château. Montlouis is a remarkable Loire Valley wine estate, which uses a unique type of grape called the “chenin”. Its particular location in the Loire Valley enables this precious grape to thrive: indeed, Montlouis’ vines have grown on a clay and flint-rich soil, a peculiarity which enables the ground to contain heat. This results in perfectly balanced aromas with depths of minerality that are present across the variety of wines that is produced in the estate: dry, semi-dry, sweet and even sparkling- a diversity which is extraordinary for just one Loire Valley vineyard.
Cheverny-Cours : Organic Winemaking and Precious Romorantin Grape
On the way home, it is well worth taking a detour to visit the Chenonceaux Château before discovering what Les Sources de Cheverny prides itself in producing. Organic winemaking has been soaring in the past few years. In order to take on a role in the Loire Valley wines stage that is in adequacy with its sustainable endeavors, Les Sources de Cheverny have dedicated seven acres of land to the production of the white wine grape known as the Romorantin. A cépage uncommonly precious to King Francis the 1st as it was brought to a Loire Valley vineyard from Bourgogne for his beloved mother, the Romorantin can only be found under the Cours-Cheverny appellation as of recently. Hand in hand with the gifted winemaker Philippe Tessier and those green, juicy pearls, Les Sources de Cheverny produces its own cellar of organic white wine, which is recognizable thanks to its intense minerality and its bouquet of white flowers, citruses and honey.
Discovering the Tastes of Loire Valley Wines with Expert Sommelier
There is an inherent ambivalence between the sui generis of the Loire Valley wines and the diverse forms - not to say liquids - they can embody. Hence why the word “adventure” seems particularly fitting: a lot of surprises and discoveries await the wine connoisseurs and novices alike. Wine culture can come across as quite complicated, not to say daunting to some, nevertheless, one shouldn’t lose sight of what is really key here: does it taste good, or does it not? The wine-bar at L’Auberge restaurant in Les Sources de Cheverny offers wine-tasting sessions with our home sommelier, whose expertise and passion will most certainly foster our esteemed clientele’s appreciation for Loire Valley wine- the ones they may disapprove of as well as the ones they will adore.That is the intrinsic beauty of the Loire Valley historical vineyards. peaceful and luxurious setting.