The Loire Valley’s Sweetest Secret: Its Liquid Desserts
The Loire Valley is France’s most diverse wine region, so it’s no surprise the 600-mile stretch of countryside produces singular sweet wines in addition to its range of dry offerings. In fact, the sweet wines of Quarts de Chaume have been beloved since the Middle Ages! Most famous in the Bonnezeaux and Coteaux du Layon appellations, the Loire Valley’s dessert wines offer a distinct and delicious alternative to after-dinner classics like Sauternes and German Rieslings.
These luscious, golden dessert wines are made from Chenin Blanc, a high-acid white grape variety that is renowned for its mélange of flavors. Its signatures include notes of baked golden apple and pear, citrus, and slight minerality. The grape’s natural high acidity helps it to create dessert wines that are delicious and complex, without feeling syrupy or overly sweet on the palate.
When Chenin Blanc is affected by botrytis – a “noble” type of rot that is beloved for creating concentrated and irresistible dessert wines – Chenin Blanc takes on even more layers of complexity, offering hints of candied ginger, toasted nuts, florals, and even spices in its long-lived dessert wines.
Whether accompanied by a traditional French cheese course, something avant-garde, or on its own, Loire Valley Chenin Blancs are always an ideal dessert.