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Class 5: Old World Model: France

the loire valley

Diverse Regions, Diverse Wines

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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