Pineau de la Loire, plant of the moonlight, Steen (in South Africa)
It was first reported in the IXth century under the name “Anjou’s plant”.
It was popularized in the XVth century by Rabelais, in Gragantua, under its current name, which shows that the Chenin already was, at that time, the great grape of the Loire Valley.
It is the noble grape of the great wines of the Loire Valley, where its growing area covers 8 900 hectares (90% of its French planted surface).
It is also widely planted abroad : 40 000 ha worldwide, especially in South Africa (19 325 ha), California and New Zealand.
Source : Interloire
The Chenin grape reaches the pinnacle of its expression in the Loire Valley; wines produced elsewhere are of much less significance.
Hence its reputation of complexity, since nowhere else it expresses so completely its typical finesse, freshness and its fruity flavours.
It is then very flexible and can offer a surprising range of wines from liquorous, sweet, dry to the full range of sparkling wines.
Combined with Chardonnay or Cabernet Franc, Chenin expands the aromatic complexity of the Loire Valley wines.
Flavours of apple, peach, pear, apricot, nuts, citrus fruits, quince, even honey and candied fruits, for liquorous wines.
Chenin gives structure and frame to the wine and has an exceptional ageing ability.
Its natural ability to transform into sparkling wine makes it the ideal grape to produce Saumur and Crémant de Loire.
Native of Burgundy, village of Chardonnay.
Cultivated on poor soils (stony, clay-siliceous and chalky soil), this grape variety, very adaptable and easy to turn to wine, is highly popular in France (Burgundy, Champagne, Loire Valley…) and worldwide (California, Chile, Australia…)
It produces wines of great finesse with a high aromatic potential which differs according to the “terroir”, climate and know-how of the winemaker.
It reaches higher aromatic range and acidity in Northern vineyards.
In the Loire Valley, it gives its best when it is combined with other white grape varieties to elaborate Crémant de Loire and Saumur sparkling wines.
Noble and subtle aromas. White fruits(apple, peach) and citrus fruits notes, mineral (in the Loire Valley), butter (in Burgundy) or floral notes (acacia, white rose, hawthorn, honey suckle, lime tree).
Often called British because it came from Nantes’ region. It would be native of the Spanish Basque country.
Dominant grape in the Loire Valley. France is the 1st producer of Cabernet Franc (50% in Aquitaine) with 36 000 ha out of 45 000 ha planted in the world.
It was the 1st red grape variety in the Loire Valley where it was introduced in the XIth century. It is used to elaborate Chinon, Bourgueil, St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Saumur, Saumur Champigny and Anjou wines.
It brings flexibility and finesse to the wine. Light in tannin, it has a good ageing ability though.
Strawberry, raspberry, black currant, violet notes.