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France’s largest white wine producing region, The Loire Valley, celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Quincy appellation with special wine tasting opportunities at US restaurants. In August of 1936 Quincy was the first Loire Valley appellation to receive an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée)status – Controlled Place of Origin. An AOC status signifies that no other region in the world can produce wine at the same quality and characteristics presented to that AOC region.
Quincy is located in Centre-Loire, the ideal climate for Sauvignon Blanc- the sole grape of the appellation. It is at the exact geographical center of France. It sits on the left bank of the Cher River, encompassing over 690 acres. With over 2,000 years of grape growing expertise, the Quincy appellation has evolved into a women-driven industry. In fact, with women at its forefront – females account for nearly half of the viticulturists and winemakers in the regions workforce – Quincy is changing the vineyard landscape. The area is known for Sauvignon Blanc, Pinor Noir and Gamay.
The Loire Valley as a whole is referred to as the Garden of France, is known for its magnificent chateaux, rich history and runs at the heart of France with 5 distinct wine regions – Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, Centre-Loire – each with its own characteristics of grapes, appellations and styles. The wine-growing regions dotting the Loire’s banks feature no less than 4,000 wineries, 170,000 acres of vineyards and 61 appellations of origin, thus making the Loire Valley the third largest French wine making region. Producing 380 million bottles per year, the Loire Valley is France’s leading producer of white wines and ranks second for rosés. The region as a whole exports 68 million bottles every year to 157 export markets.
It all began with the Romans when they conquered Gaul in the 1st Century AD. Although history shows that they knew the climate and soil were perfect for vines, equally important was that the river made a convenient “roadway” to transport product throughout the empire.
Te Loire was at the heart of France in terms of language and culture by the Middle Ages, halfway between the Latin south and the Germanic north. At the time, monks of the Catholic Church tended the vineyard. Meanwhile the wines grew popular in faraway places, such as England and Holland.
By the 15th–17th centuries, building lavish chateaux and further popularizing the local wines, the French aristocracy had made the Loire a “summer retreat.” But after French Revolution, the National Railroad brought cheaper wines from the south and more exotic selections from Burgundy and Bordeaux, leaving the Loire behind. While the Loire was one of the last regions to be affected by the phylloxera disease, it was one of the last to recover.
However, the Loire Valley became recognized as a region of quality when the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée was introduced in 1935. It currently has 69 AOP’s (official designations) which make up 75% of the wine production. For the last 80 years Quincy has exceeded all expectations with its racy dry Sauvignon Blanc. The sandy gravel terrain atop a bed of limestone, combined with the regions temperate climate allows the grapes to ripen very early compared to its neighbor in Sancerre. The Quincy appellation produces light-bodied, lively wines that pair perfectly with a variety of foods, from fish to a summer picnic. As confirmation of its exceptional quality, Quincy was the second appellation to be created in France.
For a full list of participating restaurants visit: http://test.hudsonmind.com/loirevalleywine/quincy/
In the Loire, Sauvignon Blanc is also a grape of terroir, of several different terroirs in fact. “Great Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre should have balance above all,” says Jean-Marie Bourgeois, who heads the eponymous house of Domaine Henri Bourgeois in Sancerre. “Fruit, body, minerality and above all acidity. In each terroir, you are looking for the balance of these characters.”
This is the spiritual heartland of white wines. From here, the grape has spread around the world, bringing its unforgettable grassy and citrus aromas, flavors of grapefruit and gooseberry (the green, ta to millions of wine drinkers. It is the simple, fruity purity above all. It is exuberant, bright, great with food and as an apéritif.
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