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Val De Loire

Val de Loire is a region-level IGP title, covering wines made in an area that roughly corresponds to the Loire Valley wine region of northern France. The catchment area of the IGP encompasses 14 departments and as such is one of the largest geographically in France. The terroir is extremely varied in this part of France and wines that are produced under the IGP title range in style just as much as the AOC appellations of the Loire.

The geographical area of the IGP follows the Loire river for around 350 miles (560km), reaching as far inland as the Auvergne hills in the centre of France. Each of the departments covered by the IGP has its own geographical indication under the law: wines that come exclusively from one department may say so on the label. These departments are Allier, Cher, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Maine-et-Loire, Nievre, Sarthe, Vendee and Vienne. Marches de Bretagne and Pays de Retz are two further geographical indicators allowed under the Val de Loire IGP.

Broadly speaking, the Val de Loire has a cool climate, although this ranges from maritime near Nantes (home to the Pays Nantais AOC appellation) to far more continental in more inland areas near the famous Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire winegrowing villages. The geography is similarly diverse, ranging from the tuffeau of Anjou to limestone and flint in Pouilly-sur-Loire, and finally, the volcanic soils of the Côtes du Forez.

Val de Loire IGP wines have a familiar array of grape varieties to draw upon – the classic Loire varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne are oft-used, as are Gamay and Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are also seen in vineyards, but in smaller quantities. The majority of wines made under the IGP are single-varietal, and are labelled as such.

The Val de Loire IGP has recently been renamed as part of the phasing out of the much-maligned Vin de Pays category. While most regional denominations simply had the words "Vin de Pays" replaced with "Indication Géographique Protégée", Val de Loire's was more substantial: prior to 2009 it was known as Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France.