With more than 185,000 acres covered by vineyards, the Loire Valley produces a huge variety of wines with the emphasis on fresh white wines. The region is the third largest producer of wine in France.
The western area is Muscadet country, with the Vouvray, Tourraine and Chinon regions occupying the centre ground. The upper Loire to the east is the home of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. The Loire is also France’s second-largest producer of sparkling wines.
The red wines from the region aren’t as well known, but the quality can be excellent, with estate-bottled wines available at reasonable prices.
For something a little different, the wine museum at Chinon is part exhibition, part dining experience and at Saumur you can visit wine cellars situated in old quarries, some 12 metres below ground.
And what goes better with wine than…cheese?!
The Loire Valley is renowned for its goat’s cheese. The most famous of these is Crottin de Chavignol which has been produced since the 16th century in the village of Chavignol. It is produced with a natural rind which can range from pale ivory to almost black.
Crottin de Chavignol is one of the rare cheeses that can be eaten at various stages of maturity. After eight days, each cheese weighs 140g, and has a strong nutty taste. After four months, the cheese has shrunk to 40g and has a richer flavour. A classic dish is baked Crottin de Chavignol on a green salad. It’s also delicious paired with a Loire white wine such as Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé.
Canvas Holidays has two campsites in the Loire Valley.