Loire Valley Wines You Should Be Drinking This Summer

Wine glasses and map of the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley produces an incredible variety of wines, to the extent that, no matter how specific your tastes, you are guaranteed to find a bottle from this French region to suit them exactly. With 34 appellations and one PGI, the Loire has been a notable site for winemaking for 2,000 years. Loire winemakers have championed sustainable and organic viticulture for centuries before we even had words for these concepts, relying on tradition and thoughtful innovation to create wines with a history… and, more importantly, a future.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Loire and sample 380 different wines from across different appellations and domaines. Here are a few that I loved, from effervescent crémants, to sessionable reds, to dry and elegant rosés.

Loire Wines We Love for Warm Weather

Louis de Grenelle Crémant de Loire Brut

Crémant de Loire is a category of sparkling wines from Anjou, Touraine, and Saumur, made in the same style as Champagne. Dry and effervescent, with floral aromas, these wines are infallible crowd-pleasers—none more so than this organic Crémant de Loire Brut from Louis de Grenelle. Nutty and brioche-y on the nose, it quickly transitions into a well-structured and complex wine on the tongue, with elegant fruit and mineral notes. Serve as an apéritif at the start of a languorous dinner on a summer’s eve.

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, Élégante, Vignoble de la Jarnoterie

Like it or not, every summer party needs a fruity red wine to get things started. In the Loire, that means Cabernet Franc, which makes up the majority of red wines produced in the region. Many of these red wines come from the Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil AOC, which produces light wines with lots of berry and spice notes. The Élégante 2022 vintage from Vignoble de la Jarnoterie is one of these, with an explosion of blackberry in the mouth. Serve it, as I first had it, alongside a plate of Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine, a local goat cheese rolled in ash, and some strawberries.

Château de Targé Brut Rosé

This brut rosé from Saumur, made in the ancestral method, is composed of 100% Cabernet Franc. Loire rosés made from Cabernet France tend to be dry and highly aromatic, with floral, herbal, and even vegetal notes. The Château de Targé Brut Rosé is light, fruity, and subtly creamy… not to mention incredibly drinkable. Keep a bottle on hand all summer—your friends will thank you.

Clau de Nell 2021, Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is the foundation upon which the Loire Valley sits. This remarkably versatile grape makes up most of the white wines produced in the Loire… which is a lot. Though honeysuckle aromas and notes of apple, pear, and quince are common to these wines, the delicate hand of the winemaker can steer Chenin Blanc any which number of ways. A great entry point is this biodynamic 2021 Chenin Blanc from Clau de Nell in Anjou, which is unfiltered with minimal additives, and comes with a creamy texture and pure fruit on the palate, with a dry, mineral finish.

Coteaux du Layon 2021, Domaine Leduc Frouin

If you’re a sweet wine skeptic, this 2021 Coteaux du Layon from Domaine Leduc Frouin will change your mind. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, this sweet white wine has notes of honey, fig, and apricot, with plenty of acidity to balance out these rich flavors. Pair it with a plate of blue cheese and walnuts after dinner.

Domaine du Colombier Grolleau Gris 2023

Though this wine is not currently exported to the U.S., it’s worth noting for the unexpected composition of 100% Grolleau Gris. This underrated Loire grape, a mutation of the more common Grolleau Noir, is often blended into rosés of the region, but this one is all in. This pink-skinned grape produces crisp, mineral wines that zing across your palate, perfect for serving alongside oysters.

Domaine de Bellivière, Rouge Gorge Coteaux du Loire 2022

Though common red grapes from the Loire lean towards Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Grolleau, and Cabernet Sauvignon, the region also produces plenty of wines with Pineau d’Aunis. Used in red, white, and rosé wines, Pineau d’Aunis adds a touch of pepper that makes it pair spectacularly with spicy or peppery food, from an arugula salad, to Vietnamese spring rolls with a spicy dipping sauce. But it will also punch up mild cheeses, like Curé Nantais, Vieux Pané, and Port Salut, all local to the Loire. This Coteaux du Loire from Domaine de Bellivière is 100% Pineau d’Aunis, perfect for breaking down the nuances of this particular grape.

Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Clisson, Domaine Jérémie Huchet

Also known as Melon de Bourgogne, Melon Blanc is a cross between Pinot blanc and Gouais blanc grapes, and is beloved in the Loire for its ability to create sophisticated dry white wines produced in and around Nantes. This one, from Domaine Jérémie Huchet, is silky, acidic, and bone dry, with notes of citrus and green apple. Pair it with anything you would spritz a little lemon juice on, from seafood to allium-based dishes.

Vouvray (dry), Clos de la Roche 2022, Domaine Vincent Carême

You’re probably familiar, at least in name, with Vouvray, a classification of white wines from Touraine in the Loire. They can be still or sparkling, sweet or dry, but all are made with Chenin Blanc. This dry, sparkling Vouvray from Domaine Vincent Carême has citrus and grassy aromas, and notes of apple, pear, and ginger, and would pair well with Jambon de Vendée or rillettes from the Loire.

Catherine Rickman is a writer, professional Francophile, and host of the Expat Horror Stories podcast. She is currently somewhere in Brooklyn with a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @catrickman, or on TikTok @catinthekitchen.

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