Week 1 of 8 of wine tasting: Burgundy & Loire

I have enrolled on an 8 week ‘introduction to wine’ course. Each week we will review, and most importantly taste, wine from different countries, regions and types. This week we focused on Burgundy and the Loire Valley.

So, what did I learn?

Loire and Burgundy

Wine regions are dominated by the grapes that are suitable for the climate and the soils. Loire is a cooler climate than Burgundy and it suits white wine (Muscadet, Sauvignon Banc, Chenin Blanc), although there are some interesting red wine varietals (Cabernet Franc). Burgundy suits reds (Pinot Noir, Gamay), however interesting whites (Chardonnay) are produced in Burgundy.

Loire regions and grapes:


It’s close to the Atlantic – light and invigorating often acidic and reasonable in price. Principle grapes: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Loire stretches from the north west coast, starting at Nante, in the region of Pays Nantais, through Anjour-Samur touching Touraine then up and out into central france with the regions of the Upper Loire. The Loire is varied and complex, so I will touch very lightly on the main regions, a bit of their geography and climate and the main grapes.

  • NANTAIS (geography, climate then grape)– Muscadet <Give some tasting notes> – Muscadet
  • ANJOU-SAUMUR (geography, climate then grape) – Saumur-Champigny, Coteaux du Layon, Chaume-all Chenin Blanc
  • TOURAINE (geography, climate then grape) – Vouvrey – Chenin Blanc- Chinon, Bourgueil – Cabernet Frc
  • CENTRAL Vineyards (geography, climate then grape)- Sancerre, Pouilly Fume & Menetou-Salon – all Sauvignon Blanc



One of France’s most important wine-growing districts. Notoriously unpredictable, its regions are fragmented. Principle grapes are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Aligote.

Burgundy districts

  • Chablis – Chardonnay
  • DeNults – Pinot Noir
  • De Beaune – Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
  • Chalonnaise – Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
  • Maconnaise – Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
  • Beaujolais – Gamey

Burgundy categories

Quality improves as the arrow goes up
  • Grand Cru vine yard
  • Premier Cru vineyard
  • Commune Appellation
  • District Appellation
  • Regional Appellation

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