Discovering the wine region of Haute Loire
Haute Loire is an unofficial name for the wine-producing communes of the Loire Valley located upstream (South and east) from Touraine. It includes two of the Loire's most famous appellations - Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume - along with a number of lesser known appellations such as Orléans, Valencay, Quincy and Côtes du Forez. The concept of a "Haute Loire" sub-region is necessary because the appellations that make it up are not grouped by an administrative or historical region; their main commonality is their proximity to the Loire River. Most other French wine regions correspond closely to an administrative region or department (e.
g. Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne, Provence). There is indeed a department of the Loire, but it is hundreds of miles upstream from the heart of the Loire Vineyard. Ironically, it is home to two of the least known appellations in the Loire Valley: Côte Roannaise and Côtes du Forez.
Like nowhere else on the Loire, these two regions specialize in red and rosé wines made from Gamay. Their style of wine and their sandy, granitic soils mean that they have more in common with Beaujolais (just 50 km to the east) than with any other Loire appellation.