Learning more about wine from a particular region was one of our New Year's resolutions. That was six months ago and we confess we didn't get too far with that resolution yet. Well, today's the day. Our friends at the Loire Valley Wine Bureau are offering an instant, free download (PDF) of a chapter of their new book Loire365. This excerpt delivers 50 interesting and fun facts about the Loire Valley and its astonishingly diverse range of wines, including internationally famous examples of Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc and Muscadet. You'll find unexpected facts about the Loire Valley's famous châteaux and colorful history, plus information about the region's culture, cuisine and of course...the wine! Once you finish this excerpt, click the link at the end of the PDF to order the entire free book. You'll be on your way to becoming a Loire Valley expert in no time.
Here are a few of our favorite tips from Loire365:
Rare, rare rosé: The Touraine Noble-Joué appellation makes an unusual rosé from a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Meunier. The wine is very pale pink, with notes of red currant and wild flowers, but you'll probably have to go to the Loire Valley to find it—the entire appellation totals only 70 acres.
Hold the oak, please! Although the use of new oak barrels is popular in many wine regions, most Loire Valley winemakers forgo using wood to age their wines. Crisp, light-bodied white wines can be smothered by the flavor of new oak, much as drowning a delicate white fish in heavy sauce obliterates its flavor.
Just right. The climate in the Loire Valley strikes an ideal balance for producing elegant, fresh wines. Hot weather can cause fruit to become overripe, whereas too cool weather can result in sharp, thin wines. Warm days and cool nights in the region allow the sugar levels in the grapes to reach the ideal level, while retaining fresh acidity.