A photo of The Best Wine Tasting Tours in the Loire Valley

Loire Valley
wine tasting tours and winery visits

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Best wine tours in Loire Valley

Why Visit Loire Valley?

Stretching along the banks of the longest river in France, the Loire Valley is an enchanting UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting beautiful scenery, magical historic châteaux, and endless rolling vineyards which have been cultivated for centuries. Wine lovers are spoilt for choice with a diverse offering to suit every palate, making the Loire Valley one of the best places for a wine tasting holiday. History buffs are also in their element due to medieval towns and historic chateaux at every turn. 

The Loire Valley is one of France’s largest and oldest wine producing regions, yet its vineyards are not as well-known as those of Bordeaux and Burgundy. From Anjou, Saumur, and Muscadet in the west, to Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé in the east, via the vineyards of Touraine and the sparkling wines of Vouvray. The diversity of climate and soil, of winemakers great and small, and variety of wine styles make the Loire Valley a fascinating place for a wine tasting holiday. Such a vast region, with an overwhelming choice of vineyards, can be difficult to know where to start. Check out the Winerist selection of privately guided and small group wine tasting tours

Vineyards aside, the Loire Valley is famous for its abundance of majestic chateaux. The countryside is dotted with some 300 magnificent castles with fairy-tale turrets, beautifully landscaped gardens, and fascinating histories. Be wowed by the magical Chateau de Chenonceau, the grandiose Chateau de Chambord and the stunning gardens of Chateau Villandry, but take time to discover the smaller, privately-owned chateaux. 
A cycling tour is an excellent way of exploring the Loire Valley due to La Loire a Velo: a network of well-maintained, well-signposted, dedicated cycle lanes that cover a staggering 900km! The terrain is predominantly flat, so you don’t need to be super fit, and there are plenty of excuses to stop en-route for a glass of the region’s finest. If this all sounds a little too active, Winerist has a selection of self-drive packages – explore at your own pace but with less pedal power!  

Aside from rather quaffable wines the Loire Valley produces no fewer than five goat cheeses with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). During your visit be sure to sample at least one of these special cheeses: Valençay cheese, Chabichou, Crottin de Chavignol, Selles-sur-Cher cheese and Pouligny-Saint-Pierre cheese.

Plan Your Visit

Best Known Grapes

Wines from the Loire Valley tend to be refreshing and energetic, light and invigorating. The region produces a whole range of styles: from the traditional still reds of Touraine and Anjou to the dry whites of Sancerre and Muscadet; the popular rosés of the Anjou to the sparkling regional specialities of Vouvray and Crémant de Loire. Well over half of all Loire wines are white. The key white grapes grown in the region are Melon de Bourgogne and Chenin Blanc. Melon de Bourgogne (a cousin of Chardonnay) is used to make Muscadet, a famous Loire wine style renowned for its bone-dry palate and zingy acidity. Chenin Blanc, meanwhile, is used to make everything from dessert wine to sparkling. In warmer years, sweet wines are produced using grapes from noble rot, in a similar style to Sauternes. There is one red grape more synonymous with the Loire Valley than any other: Cabernet Franc. In other wine regions, such as Bordeaux, this delicate, fragrant grape is typically used in blends. However, the Loire specialises in single varietal Cabernet Franc wines which really make this grape come alive. Styles can vary from the silky, light wines of Chinon (which are best drunk chilled on a hot summer day) to the medium-bodied, oak-aged reds from Bourgueil. 
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Best time to visit

The Loire Valley enjoys favourable weather conditions year-round: never uncomfortably hot in the summer and not so cold in the winter that you need to hide indoors. These temperate weather conditions combined with the gentle breeze from the Atlantic Ocean at the western end of the region, and the Loire River create the perfect climate for viticulture and, of course, for holidaying in the Loire Valley!   Spring and autumn are arguably the best times of the year to visit the Loire Valley. Spring brings a flush of colour to the landscape and the beautiful, landscaped gardens of the chateaux. The autumn months of September and October are harvest time and an excellent time of the year to visit the Loire Valley on a wine holiday. Favourable temperatures and predominantly rain-free days make spring and autumn the best times of year to explore Loire by bicycle. By visiting during these months you’ll also avoid the summer tourist crowds. 
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How long to stay

A popular way of experiencing the Loire Valley is on a day trip from Paris. In just over one hour on the train you can be transported from bustling central Paris into the peace and serenity of the Loire. This is a great option if you’re tight on time but still keen for a taste of Loire life. If you are looking for a longer, more relaxing sojourn in the Garden of France, a week is the perfect length of time for a wine and food focused holiday. You will have time to explore more than one of Loire’s wine regions, visit several the magical chateaux and potter around the towns, punctuated with leisurely lunches and wine tasting, naturally!  With plenty to see, do and taste, it’s not surprising that many tourists return year after year! 
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How to get there

The best way to access the Loire Valley is to arrive in to either Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or Paris Orly Airport. From Paris, the fastest way to the Loire Valley is by train, with journey times ranging from 1hour 15 minutes to Tours; to just under three hours to Nantes in the far west of the region. If you prefer to drive from Paris it will take between two and three hours, depending on the Paris traffic (which can be chaotic!)  If you are travelling from the UK, a great alternative to air travel is the Eurostar. A direct train will whisk you from London St Pancras to Paris in under three hours, where you are perfectly placed to continue your journey to Loire by train. 
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