The Loire Valley is France’s most diverse wine region. Over the course of more than three hundred miles, from the very heart of France to the Atlantic Ocean, the Loire River (the longest in France) flows through several sub-regions, each with its own soils and climate. The result? Excellent wines in every style, several of which set international standards for their varietals. In addition to world famous white wines (Sancerre, Vouvray and Muscadet among them), the Loire Valley produces three delicious styles of rosé.

Rosé d’Anjou

Made in the historic region of Anjou, this is the ultimate backyard wine. Not a wine for swirling, sniffing and analyzing, Rosé d’Anjou is just plain fun. Made from a blend of Cabernet Franc, Gamay and Grolleau (a grape grown only in the Loire Valley), Rosé d’Anjou is fruity and subtly sweet with a tart, refreshing finish. It’s a perfect wine for a spicy barbecue or a burger fresh off the grill with all the traditional garnishes, like ketchup, pickle or relish, which would kill a fully dry wine.

Sancerre Rosé

Sancerre, in the geographical center of France, is internationally famous for its definitive expression of Sauvignon Blanc, but almost half of the vineyards are planted in Pinot Noir. Most is made into red wine, but every year a small amount of rosé is produced as well.

Sancerre Rosé combines the dry, crisp and mineral qualities of white Sancerre with the fruity aromas of Pinot Noir. Try it with a salad of beets and goat cheese, lentil salad, grilled or poached salmon, cold meats or any other summer fare. There isn’t much Sancerre Rosé and it tends to disappear from the shelves after July, so enjoy it while you can or you’ll have to wait for next year.

Chinon Rosé

Chinon, the Loire Valley’s most famous red wine appellation, also makes great rosé. Just as Sancerre is the benchmark for Sauvignon Blanc, Chinon sets international standards for Cabernet Franc. Like their great red wines, Chinon Rosé is 100 percent Cabernet Franc. Characteristic aromas include red raspberries and cherries, along with a smoky minerality that makes this a natural for the grill. Great for steak and even better for lamb, Chinon Rosé loves simply grilled meats. Even a perfectly simple burger is an ideal partner.

Despite the variety, all Loire Valley rosé wines have a few things in common. The Loire Valley has a mild climate, so the wines always retain a refreshing acidity that makes them great for summer, and they are all very affordable. Make this your summer to discover the rosé wines of the Loire Valley, the heart of France.