Best vineyard visits in the Loire Valley
If you're looking for a wine lover's paradise, look no further than the Loire Valley in France. This region is home to some of the most diverse and delicious wines in the world, from crisp whites to fruity reds, from sparkling to sweet. The Loire Valley is also known for its stunning scenery, dotted with majestic castles and charming villages. Here are our top ten vineyards to visit in the Loire Valley, where you can taste the best wines and enjoy the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
1. Chateau Gaudrelle
This family-owned winery has been producing Vouvray wines since 1931, using the Chenin Blanc grape variety. You can visit their cellars and enjoy a commented wine tasting of their still and sparkling Vouvrays, which are among the finest of the appellation. You'll also learn about their history and their winemaking philosophy, which combines tradition and innovation. Chateau Gaudrelle is located on the banks of the Loire river, offering a splendid view of the landscape.
2. Domaine de la Châtaigneraie
This winery has a long tradition of winemaking, spanning over four centuries and seven generations of Gautiers. They specialize in producing high-quality Chenin Blanc wines from the Vouvray appellation, with different levels of sweetness and aging potential. You can visit their typical chalky cellar and discover their incredible wines that have been praised by renowned reviewers such as Robert Parker or The Wine Spectator.
3. Domaine de Rocheville
This winery is situated in the heart of Saumur Champigny vineyard, one of the most prestigious red wine appellations in the Loire Valley. They grow Cabernet Franc grapes on 17 hectares of organic vineyards, with a respect for the terroir and the environment. You can visit their modern and elegant cellar, which offers a panoramic view of the Loire Valley, and taste their expressive and elegant wines that reflect their passion and expertise.
4. Domaine Marc Brédif
This winery is one of the oldest and most respected in the Loire Valley, dating back to 1893. They produce exceptional wines from the Vouvray and Chinon appellations, using Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc grapes. You can explore their majestic cellars, which are carved into the tuffeau stone and house over a million bottles of wine. You can also enjoy a wine tasting with a charcuterie board, featuring local delicacies such as rillettes and goat cheese.
5. Domaine de la Belle Étoile
This winery is a family affair, run by the fifth generation of winemakers since 1905. They cultivate 40 hectares of vineyards in the Anjou-Saumur region, producing a range of wines from dry to sweet, from white to rosé to red. You can visit their cellar and taste their wines, which are made with care and respect for the nature and the tradition. You can also enjoy a picnic in their vineyard or a bike ride along the Loire river.
6. Château de Targé
This winery is located in a beautiful 16th-century castle, which has been in the same family for over 350 years. They produce elegant and refined wines from the Saumur-Champigny appellation, using Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. You can visit their historic cellar, which dates back to the 17th century and contains some of the oldest bottles in the region. You can also taste their wines in their charming tasting room or on their terrace overlooking the Loire river.
7. Domaine Thierry Cosme
This winery is run by Thierry Cosme, a fourth-generation winemaker who inherited his passion and know-how from his father and grandfather. He produces authentic and expressive wines from the Vouvray appellation, using Chenin Blanc grapes grown on clay and limestone soils. You can visit his cellar and taste his wines, which range from dry to sweet, from still to sparkling, from young to old.
8. Le Chateau De Fontenay
This winery is located in a stunning 18th-century castle, surrounded by 20 hectares of vineyards in the Touraine region. They produce fresh and fruity wines from various grape varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. You can visit their cellar and taste their wines, which are made with minimal intervention and respect for the terroir. You can also enjoy a guided tour of the castle and its gardens, which are classified as historical monuments.
9. Domaine Chauveau
This winery is a family business, founded in 1935 by the grandfather of the current owner, Laurent Chauveau. They produce four different appellations of wines from the Centre-Loire region, such as Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-sur-Loire, Coteaux du Giennois and Vin de Pays du Val de Loire. They grow Sauvignon Blanc and Chasselas grapes on 15 hectares of vineyards, with a focus on quality and sustainability. You can visit their cellar and taste their wines, which are aromatic and mineral, with a hint of smokiness.
10. Vincent Grall Vigneron
This winery is a small and artisanal operation, run by Vincent Grall, who took over from his father in 1995. He produces organic and biodynamic wines from the Sancerre appellation, using Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes. He works with low yields and natural methods, resulting in wines that are pure and expressive. You can visit his cellar and taste his wines, which are complex and balanced, with a great personality.