Wine Thirsty? That’s No Problem in France’s Loire Valley

wine fair, Loire Valley Wines, Chicago somm

Loire Valley Wines in Chicago for #LoireLovers and #SpringToLoire event.

The Loire Valley is one spot that I’ve only passed through while in France, a region that has always been a “fantasy” trip for me. Though I’ve had a couple of opportunities to go on in-depth visits, they didn’t work out. Now I’m beginning to regret any missed chance at travel, as it seems like it will be some time before I’m back in France again.

In 2018 I was the beneficiary of some reverse-travel magic when Loire Valley Wines came to Chicago. During this visit I tasted through a room full of wines and enjoyed a seminar series, my favorite of which was called Direct from the Loire Valley: Diverse Wines all the Time. It was led by local sommelier Ryan Arnold and Loire producer  Arnaud Sagent, of Saget la Perrière. You can check out the presentation here.

I also found Bubbly Yet Refined, Exploring Fines Bulles from the Loire Valley to be a wonderful presentation, also by Arnold. This term, Fines Bulles or Fine Bubbles, is a self-expression of the elegance of these wines.

Most of wines from this region are not blends, but rather made from a single grape variety. Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne are some of the most renowned grapes grown in this area. The vineyards are peppered across 51 appellations spread across five regions from east to west (rather than from north to south).

red wine, white wine, rosé wine

A sampling of Loire Valley wines in Chicago.

Loire Valley Coverage on L’Occasion

Centre-Loire: Fulfilling a Fantasy

Five Things I Learned About Loire Wines from a Bottle of Rosé

Coteaux de Saumur – A Mythical Sweet Wine from the Loire

Your Ticket to French Wine is Actually A Map

How French Women Collaborate to Be Adequately Represented in the Wine Industry

Sauvignon blanc, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé

A range of wine from France’s Loire Valley. Photo Credit: Jill Barth

Wines to Try  (pictured)

Château de la Ragotière was purchased in 1979 by brothers Bernard, Francois, and Michel Couillaud. They are now working with Amélie, Bernard’s daughter, and her husband, Vincent Dugué.

Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Sélection Vieilles Vignes

Domaine de Bernier is owned by the Couillaud brothers of Château de la Ragotière, who planted some of the property with Bourgogne varietals to see how they’d do in a maritime setting, further west from Burgundy. I didn’t get a sample of the Chardonnay, but this key project was inspired by Chablis, and I found this write up to share. 

Domaine de Bernier Sauvignon Blanc

Domaine de Bernier Pinot Noir

Domaine Xavier and Agnès Amirault has been held by the Amirault family for six generations  and is 100% certified organic by Ecocert and certified biodynamic by Demeter.

Crémant de Loire Amirault

Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Les Quarterons

Domaine Cherrier & Fils has been around for three generations as an independent producer in Sancerre. Fernand, along with his son, Sylvain, and daughter-in-law, Monique are currently at the helm. The family is also known for being purveyors of a local gastronomic favorite, the goat cheese Crottins de Chavignol.


J. de Villebois is run by Joost and Miguela de Willebois, with vineyards across the Loire Valley including  Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, Menetou Salon and Touraine. Native to the Netherlands, Joost was compelled by his love for the Loire Valley and his French ancestry when he and his wife purchased his first winery in Touraine in 2004.


Loire Wines Previously Featured on L’Occasion

Marcel Martin NV Crémant de Loire

Château de Tracy Pouilly-Fume 2017

Le Domaine Saget Pouilly-Fume 2016 

Famille Bougrier Pure Loire Rosé d’Anjou 

French wine map

Map of Loire Valley Wines

The French Winophiles

We are all seeking a little freedom and fresh air and the place to do it is the Loire Valley. Care to join us? Pop onto Twitter at 10am Central Time on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Find the hashtag #Winophiles and share your experiences, questions, memories. It’s all about the Loire Valley, and everyone is invited!


14 thoughts on “Wine Thirsty? That’s No Problem in France’s Loire Valley

  1. Unfortunately in the USA they confuse the long Valley of the Loire. Those wines are what here are call Centre-Val de Loire region.. the Loire continues into the Atlantic ocean and there are plenty of good ones I visit often in the Pays de la Loire region.


  2. That Loire event sounded fantastic! What a great way to taste through such a huge and diverse region when you can’t get there in person.


  3. The Loire Valley Wines tasting is always one of my favorites during normal times. Will look forward to it again on the other side, fingers crossed. Like you, the Loire Valley remains one of my fantasy trips — again, hopefully someday! Thanks for hosting!


  4. When we visited France last year we were thinking of doing a dray trip to Loire, but essentially decided to go to Normandy instead. For me going to Loire for just a day may have been more frustrating than rewarding.


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