Sancerre wine tour: Guide to the Loire’s finest wine growing areas

Vouvray is the most well respected white wine appellation of the Touraine district in the Loire Valley, and is revered above all for its production of premium Chenin Blanc styles.

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Few wine regions anywhere in the world are dominated by Chenin Blanc to the same extent – South Africa produces more of the grape variety than France but its Chenin Blanc struggles to achieve the same textural balance and deep aromas as those found in Vouvray.

Consequently, exploring the region as part of a Vouvray wine tour has become a popular pastime for visitors to the Loire Valley, which also happens to be arguably the most picturesque of all France’s wine growing regions where vineyards share the beautiful rural countryside with quaint villages and magnificent medieval castles. Vouvray wines have multiple personalities ranging from dry and sweet whites to sparkling varieties that are labelled as methode traditionnelle and use the same techniques as their more illustrious counterparts from Champagne.

At Wine Paths, our local expert in the Loire Valley can organise exclusive Vouvray wine tours of the region, which can include elaborate tastings at wineries, luxury accommodations, fine dining experiences and some unique activities. All of our private Vouvray wine tours can be tailor-made to meet your exact needs, ensuring every detail is taken care of before you arrive so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – discovering some of the world’s finest Chenin Blanc varietals surrounded by outstanding natural beauty.

Our private tasting tour of Loire Valley wines allows you to explore a great selection of vintages from the region’s most revered appellations including Vouvray, Bourgueil and Chinon.

As with most Vouvray wine tours there is an opportunity visit several vineyards, including an organic estate dating back to 1875, accompanied by a professional guide to explain the region’s characteristics and the wine making process. Visitors can enjoy a meal at a winery in Bourgeil with local cuisine accompanied by suitable wine pairings before travelling to Chinon for a guided tour of the historic city and a final wine tasting experience that includes some interesting Cabernet Franc red varietals.

A key characteristic of Vouvray wines is their ability to age gracefully, with many bottles even dating back 30 years still showing remarkable freshness – this is largely down to the naturally high acidity of Chenin Blanc, which preserves wines and allows them to mature for decades. And the rewards are well worth waiting for.

The labelling system in Vouvray can be confusing as, despite having several official terms to describe the sweetness of the region’s still wines – Sec (dry), Sec Tendre (off dry), Demi-Sec (sweet) and Moelleux (very sweet) – these are rarely displayed on bottles making purchases outside of a Vouvray wine tour something of a gamble. And, to cloud matters further, the sparkling wines are designated either petillant (spritzy) or mousseux (fully sparkling) according to their effervescence, which is again unclear from the bottle.

There are strong correlations between Vouvray and the nearby region of Savennieres, which is the Loire Valley’s other Chenin Blanc specialist. But, the main difference is Savennieres wines are almost exclusively dry while Vouvray has many faces.

 

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