Loire Valley wines
Quality and Prestige
Although the Romans planted the first grapes, our wine makers have made winemaking into an art. Nowhere in the world can match the variety and quality of the Loire Valley’s white, red, rose, sparkling, sweet and dry wines. Our prestigious AOC wines include Saumur Brut, Savennieres, Chinon, Bourgueil, Coteaux du Layon, Saumur Champigny, Saumur Puy Notre Dame, Muscadet, Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé and Menetou Salon. You can taste wines of every colour and flavour, with unforgettable fragrances which reflect the region’s unique soil. Look out for the sign ‘Vignoble & Découverte’ to find quality winemakers, hotels and restaurants for warm welcome around the Anjou and Touraine region. Our hotel La Croix Blanche and it’s restaurant Le Plantagenêt are proud members of ‘Vignoble & Découverte’ (it translates into : vineyards & discoveries).
The Wines of Anjou and Saumur
In the heart of the Loire Valley you’ll find the famous vineyards of Anjou and Saumur; at more than 50,000 acres, these are the largest vineyards in the Loire Valley. The diversity of soils here produce a variety of wine styles, resulting in 32 appellations, individually recognised wines. These are some of the most sought-after wines in France: Coteaux du Layon from the Layon valley hills, Savennières from the banks of the Loire and the red Anjou wines from south of the Loire. Saumur wines, originating from the oldest vineyards in France, are produced on the local limestone hills and have a natural tendency to sparkle, like wines in France’s Champagne region. Every year, 15 million bottles of bubbly, especially Saumur Brut and Crémant de Loire wines, are exported worldwide. Many of these sparkling wine wineries use their troglodyte cellars to produce and store the bottles. Reception will be delighted to arrange visits and tasting at local wineries. In spring, summer and autumn we organize special ‘Quintessence’ wine weekends too.
Combier Distillery Saumur
Combier, near Saumur, is the region’s oldest working distillery. With copper stills and secret recipes, the Combier family have been creating their liqueurs here for more than 150 years. Triple Sec and Royal Combier are award-winning liqueurs that perfectly illustrate Combier’s motto ‘La Beauté du Zeste’. Triple Sec is made from bitter oranges and Royal Combier is a blend of triple sec, brandy and Combier Elixir. Discover classic and exotic flavours, making drinks fun to mix and create cocktails with a twist. An aperitif that delighted the court of King Louis XIV, Guignolet, owes its name to the Guigne cherry – typical to the Anjou region. Combier’s Pastis, is made from 10 plants and spices. This exceptional blend is highly praised by connoisseurs of pastis. The mythical Absinthe has returned to the scene and is now completely legal to drink! The distillery produces superior absinthes distilled with and naturally coloured by plants. Other Combier products include: fruit liqueurs made from local fruit which can be served on ice or as the famous ‘kir’, as well as traditional fruit cordials. Tours of the distillery are available to the public. Hours differ according to season.
Cointreau Distillery in Angers
Cointreau liqueur distillery has a museum and interpretation centre open to the public in Saint-Barthelemy-d’Anjou, a suburb of Angers. Cointreau is a world famous brand of triple sec liqueur, made from bitter oranges. With a 40% alcohol content, Cointreau is strong for a triple sec which usually has an alcohol content around 23%. Cointreau Distillery was set up in 1849 by Adolphe Cointreau, a confectioner, and his brother Edouard-Jean Cointreau. Their first success was with the local cherry liqueur, Guignolet d’Anjou, but it was when they concocted a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels and pure alcohol from sugar beets that the company skyrocketed. In 1875, the first bottles of Cointreau were sold. It is now estimated that 13 million bottles are sold each year, in more than 195 countries. A stunning 95% of production is exported. The production methods and recipe are a family secret, but tours of the distillery followed by a tasting are open to the public.
Some more details regarding the Loire Valley and it’s wines:
*wine making in the Loire Valley is directly linked with France’s history. Local vineyards gained in popularity under the reign of king Henry II Plantagenêt – the count of Anjou who became king of England in 1154: he served wines from Anjou at his banquets and feasts. For the next millenium kings and queens of France and England alike largely contributed to the reputation of our Loire Valley wines.
*in 1936 the first Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée were Muscadet, Quincy, Sancerre and Vouvray. The vineyards of Anjou, Saumur, Touraine and Centre region followed soon afterwards.
*the latest AOC (AOCs are now called AOPs): Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame in 2009, Cabernet de Saumur was renamed Saumur Rosé in 2015, and AOC Chinon added 7 towns to their already impressive number of hectares in 2016.
* there are now 32 appellations and 2 grand crus providing a tremendous diversity of white, rosé, red, sparkling and sweet wines. Wines can be drunk young or kept for years, especially the dry and sweet white wines. Surface 20.000 hectares, yield 1.000.000 hectolitres.
*the Loire Valley region is part of Vitour. Vitour, the European World Heritage Vineyards organisation. All vineyards listed are situated in Unesco’s World Hertiage regions: other regions can be found in Portugal (upper valley of the Douro and the isle of Pico), the terrace vineyards of Lavaux in Switserland, the upper valley of the Rhine in Germany, Cinque Terre national parc and the Orcia valley of Italy, Ferö Neusiedler and the Wachau valley in Austria and the historic vineyard region of Tokaj in Hungary.