Where to buy ?
From the vineyard
Buying directly from winegrowers is still an institution. For some people, nothing will ever take the place of the warmth of direct contact with the vineyard owner (more than 3,500 in the Loire Valley).
How can your cellar ever be complete without that “chum” of a wine, a wine with a story behind it - the one you first discovered at a restaurant, when you were out on a walk, after a particularly well-advised tip, or when your head was in the clouds during a break in the vineyards.
Make an appointment with the winegrower you would like to meet.
That way, he will be able to spend more time with you and make sure he prepares a wine tasting session in line with your expectations.
By definition, wine merchants buy and market wine, sometimes under their own brand name. Like the winegrower, the wine merchant has his own talent and marks his blends with his own print.
The 40 wine merchants in the Loire Valley take great care to ensure the quality of their products and present very extensive ranges of vintages which are available for tasting in their wine warehouses.
There are 16 winegrowers’ cooperatives in the Loire valley. Very often you will be guided towards one of them by word of mouth or by tourist brochures.
Cooperatives are groups of member producers who are required to meet very precise specifications. They provide structures open to the public that are well worth the detour and have excellent surprises in store.
Cavistes (independent wine specialists)
Why not call on an independent caviste? You will be able to discuss your meal, special occasion for which you are trying to find a wine, tell him about your tastes, expectations and finances, and he will be able to give you sound advice on what wines to buy.
He is also there to show you his own discoveries, his special little well-bred bottles as well as his grander, more prestigious wines. His talent consists in rooting out small wonders and special delights to offer you.
Supermarkets and superstores
These stores offer good quality Loire Valley wines all year round at affordable prices. Their autumn (and sometimes spring) wine fairs are often a chance to make a good buy, as long as you are there in the first few days. However, do make sure that the wines are not over-exposed to the light.
Regional fairs often have excellent surprises in store and are a way of tasting and buying wine for the same price as if you went directly to the vineyard.