The Loire River is the longest river in France and the only one that is still wild in Europe. It makes for a very varied type of wine production. Dry red, dry whites, sweet whites, and sparkling.
The Loire Valley produces more white wine than any other French region and is second only to Champagne in sparkling wine production. Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are the classic white varietals for Loire wines. In addition, a host of secondary white regional and international grapes can be found throughout the valley, including Chardonnay, Orbois (Arbois/Menu Pineau), Romorantin, Gros Plant (Folle Blanche), and Chasselas.
While the Loire’s white wines can overshadow the reds, the valley is nonetheless an important source for lighter-bodied, high acid red wines. Cabernet Franc—known locally as Breton—is the most important varietal, followed by Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec (Côt), Pineau d’Aunis, and Groslot (Grolleau).