Before the Loire, France's longest river, reaches the Atlantic coast, it flows past 600 miles of the greenest, prettiest wine country in the world - as well as by storybook castles.
A mosaic of distinct growing areas produces single-variety wines, not blends, from well-known grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. The areas farthest inland and those closest to the ocean are home to crisp, light-bodied whites; the areas in between produce reds and rich, sometimes sweet whites.
Growing many grape varieties in far-flung vineyards, the Loire lacks the uniform character and homogeneous wine style found in some other French wine regions. But the wines do share a varietal purity and generally show good acidity, making for crisp, refreshing wines that are...
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