The Loire Valley is well known for their spectacular white wines, in particular those based on Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. As more and more people become aware of the quality of these wines, it’s not surprising that people want to explore all that the Loire has to offer.
This time of year all of our attention should be turning towards the bubblies that will be bringing sparkle and cheer to our holiday celebrations. There are many great sources of fine sparkling wines, but none offers the variety and value that one gets from the Fines Bulles (“Fine Bubbles”) of the Loire Valley.
What to expect: Fines BullesFines Bulles, as the sparkling wines of the Loire Valley are known, are classic Méthode Traditionnelle wines that are among the world’s greatest values when one is looking for fine bubbly. The Méthode Traditionnelle is the classic method used in the production of Champagne that calls for a secondary fermentation in the bottle, which gives the wine its sparkle. This gives the finished wine a fine, creamy mousse and integrated texture that other sparkling wines just can’t match. Appellations that produce Fines Bulles include Saumur, Vouvray, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Touraine and Crémant de Loire.
You can treat these wines much like Champagne, though their make-up is quite different. The great sparkling wines of Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire are based on the brilliant Chenin Blanc that grows in those regions. You might already be familiar with the still wines from Chenin and these sparklers certainly match those wines for quality and deliver similar levels of complexity and depth – which have no equal at similar prices, I might add.
Saumur Brut, Crémant de Loire and Touraine can blend in other grapes, such as Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, though Chenin Blanc remains the star of the show, except in the sparkling rose wines of the region.
I’m always on the lookout for great sparkling rosé and the versions from the Loire, based somewhat surprisingly on Cabernet Franc, are frequently some of the most enjoyable and delicious examples in the market, and are awfully hard to match at their price points.
Explore all that the Loire has to OfferFines Bulles
My list of favorite Loire Sparklers pretty much reads like a list of my favorite Loire producers. Francois Chidaine, Francois Pinon, Foreau,and Huet all produce wonderful bottles of bubbly but here are many other producers worth exploring. Several in particular, such as Langlois, Grandin and Bouvet, excel with approachable sparkling wines, and their roses are all particularly noteworthy. Follow this link to explore all of the Loire Valley’s sparkling wines.
Loire365: A free booklet from Loire Valley Wine
Sign up today to receive your own copy of Loire365 from Loire Valley Wine. It’s a nifty little book filled with fascinating tidbits such as #52: “The Loire Valley produces the most white wine of any region in France, and is second only to Champagne in the production of sparkling wines. Many of the region’s bubblies are Chenin Blanc based, and tend to be light with a delicate mousse.” Read them all by ordering your free copy of Loire365 today.