Loire Valley

France isprobably the first country mostpeople think of whenthey think of wine. Inthe 21st century, notwithstandinga sense of global cultural homogenisation, it remains true that forbothFrance as anation, and the Frenchas apeople, a special significance is place dupon food and wine, and it is impossible to think of another place where wine remainsnot just important,but integral ineveryday life.

Wine has beenproducedinFrance since well before the Romans conqueredthe country, andtodaynames such as Champage, Burgundy andChateauneuf-du-Pape are more than mere geographical places – they are names that evoke incrediblepassion, rekindle fond memories, andtantalise thepalates ofpeople the world over.

With vines grownacross more thanhalf the country, it shouldcome asno surprise that France make not only the greatest wines inthe world,but oftenthepoorest. But thebest wines from the famous regions – and producers – such as those you will findhere, are incredible wines andgive immensepleasure to their imbibers. Spoil yourself andexplore some of the more ethereal, complex, captivating andjoy-giving wines to be foundontheplanet.

The vast majority of the regionis relatively flat, with gentle undulations rolling across the landscape. The region is commonly divided in two – theCabernet-based wines of the ‘leftbank’, and the Merlot-dominant wines of the inland ‘rightbank’. Soils vary from light, well-drained silty gravel over heavier clays around the Gironde (an area recovered from swamp by the Dutchinthe 17th century) while inlandheavier clays, often over calcareous outcrops are typical.

The moderate climate is influencedby thenearby Atlantic Ocean, althoughfrost can be a problem.



One of the keys tounderstanding Bordeaux andits wines is to appreciate itsnumerous classifications, andthe ramifications theyhavehadonbothactual andperceivedquality, andresultantpricing.

The most famous of these, the 1855 Classificationof the Wines of the Gironde is somewhat of a landmark, inthat it institutionalisedahierarchy amongstChâteaux, andits successultimately leadtonot only every major region in Bordeaux (apart from Pomerol) instigating similar, rankings,but ingivingconsumers a clearerpicture of rankings,prices andexpectedquality, contributedto the implementationof similar rankings (including the creation of numerous Appellations Contrôlée throughout France) during the following century.

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Our top picks from Loire Valley

Loire Valley

2020 Thibaud Boudignon

Clos de la Hutte
Loire Valley

2022 Thibaud Boudignon

Rose de Loire