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Wine Spectator School

Class 5: Old World Model: France

THE LOIRE VALLEY: Key Areas, Key Wines

The Loire is divided into four regions: From east to west, they are Central Vineyards, Touraine, Anjou-Saumur and Nantais. Each region grows different grape varieties that make different wines.


Central Vineyards: Sauvignon Blanc

The villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in central France face each other on the chalky hills at the eastern edge of the Loire Valley's main growing region. Though Sancerre also produces some light reds and rosés from Pinot Noir, the two villages specialize in white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. In general, Sancerre is lighter-bodied, with herb and mineral aromas and flavors, while Pouilly-Fumé tends to be fuller-bodied and fruitier, but it's not always easy to tell them apart. (Note that Pouilly-Fumé is different from Pouilly-Fuissé,...

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