When we visited France, I wanted to visit the Loire Valley primarily because I love the wine from there! Wine tasting is one of my favorite past times both at home in LA and while traveling, so I wanted to incorporate this into our itinerary.
When I started researching how to wine taste in this area, I didn’t find a lot of concrete information. Wine tasting in France is not quite as organized as wine tasting in say Napa Valley. Another challenge is the Loire Valley is massive, so choosing where to start was a challenge. We picked Tours as it was central to both the Chateaux and what we thought was the wine region.
A few notes about wine in France – wine is named for the house the wine is made in (“Domaine”) and also for the region the grapes come from, not the grape. This means in Chenin, you will drink Chenin wine and that might be red or white.
We ended up going into the wine tasting portion of our trip a little blind. As we were driving towards one of the chateaux we were visiting, we saw a wine shop on the side of the road and decided to stop in. Thank goodness my lovely boyfriend speaks French, and he was able to start a conversation with the woman who worked in the shop and she gave us a map that lists all the recommended wineries in the area! This was a gold mine for how we discovered the other caves and domaines we visited!
This guide also has an interactive online map, and I highly recommend this tool to find the right wineries for your trip! I wish I had found this website before we left.
When wine tasting in this region, each Domaine is basically someone’s home. They make a few select wines their domaine is known for, and invite you into their small tasting rooms to try. Most tastings are free, with the expectation you will buy a bottle or two. Bottles were anywhere from 5 euros to around 20, which I thought was incredibly reasonable. The experience is really intimate as the people sharing the tastings with you are deeply connected to the wine.
We ended up visiting 3 domaines and one cave to try a wider variety of the region’s wine. Each stop was lovely, and we ended up with a good amount of wine at the end. It’s really hard to accomplish this without a car, so I highly recommend limiting your tastings and being able to drive between each location!
The Loire Valley wine lived up to what I wanted, and I would love to go back and experience more of this beautiful region. I loved how casual and affordable the experience turned out to be, as well as really understanding the passion that goes into these world renown wines!
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