Auvergne Vineyard – Appellations – Loire
Auvergne Vineyard - Origin
The Auvergne Vineyard is the most upstream of the five wine-making regions of the Loire Valley Vineyard.
It unfolds in the departments of Allier, Puy-de-Dôme and Loire.
It is also one of the oldest French vineyards.
The Romans planted it some 2000 years ago and the religious communities developed it during the Middle Ages.
The Dukes of Bourbon and Counts of Auvergne did a wonderful promotion of their vineyard.
This influential dynasty had been related to the king of France since the 13th century.
Beatrice, daughter of Robert de Clermont, indeed married the son of King Louis IX - Saint-Louis.
The Counts of Auvergne not only established several charters regulating the sale of their wines, but they also introduced them to the royal table.
Auvergne Vineyard - 4 AOC
The north and west of the Auvergne Vineyard enjoys an oceanic climate.
The south is subject to a mountain climate with fairly large seasonal variations in temperature.
The vines grow on a wide array of soils that range from granite, sand and volcanic rocks depending on their location in relation to the ancient volcanoes.
The Auvergne Vineyard produces red, rosé and white wines.
The red wines are produced mainly from Gamay and Pinot Noir, the whites from Chardonnay, Tressalier, Aligoté and Sauvignon.
The 4 AOC are Côtes d'Auvergne, Côtes du Forez, Côte Roannaise and Saint-Pourçain.
The Côtes d’Auvergne is the oldest vineyard.
It was also one of the three largest vineyards in France until the 19th century.
It enjoys an oceanic and mountain type climate and grows on granite, sand, volcanic rocks and basalt.
It produces red wines that include three denominations - Boudes, Chanturge and Chateaugay - and rosé wines - with one denomination - Corent.
This 400ha vineyard was granted an AOC in 2011.
It today spreads in 54 municipalities in the Puy-de-Dôme.
1- The Côtes d'Auvergne blanc is produced from Chardonnay and has a pale yellow colour with golden hues.
It is a dense and lively wine with nice acidity and freshness that should be served at 13°C with seafood and fish.
It should be opened within 3 years.
2- The Côtes d'Auvergne rouge is produced mainly from Gamay and Pinot Noir and has a deep ruby colour with purple hues.
It is a nice, distinctive and elegant wine with a very good acidity-tannin-alcohol balance.
It should be served with grilled meats and game.
It can be kept 5 years.
The denominations Côtes d'Auvergne Boudes, Chanturgue and Châteaugay are heady red wines with intense tannins and aromas of licorice.
They keep and should be served with game.
3- The Côtes d'Auvergne rosé is original and different.
It has a strong pink colour and is a well structured and a very pleasant to taste wine.
The denomination Côtes d'Auvergne Corent has a deep pink colour and a wide array of complex and fine aromas.
It should be served with refine dishes.
Côtes du Forez
The Côtes du Forez was already mentioned in a a charter dated from 980.
The vineyard enjoys an oceanic and mountain style climate and grows on granite, sand, volcanic rocks and basalt.
It unfolds in 17 municipalities located around Montbrison in the Forez Plain in the Loire department.
This 200ha vineyard, which was granted an AOC in 2000, is the most upstream of all the vineyards of the Loire wine region.
It is also one of the oldest French vineyards.
It was planted on the volcanic foothills of the Massif Central and produces only red and rosé wines from Gamay.
1- The Côtes du Forez rouge is ruby with reddish hues.
This is a great and pleasant to taste wine with round, fine and well integrated tannins, and aromas of red fruit with hints of spices and venison.
It should be drunk young and served at 14°C with charcuterie.
2- The Côtes du Forez rosé is fruity, simple and delicate with lovely aromas of red berries.
It is a round and refreshing wine that should be served at 11°C for aperitif or with fish and white meats.
Côte Roannaise produces red and rosé wines from Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc also known as Saint-Romain.
This 200ha vineyard was granted an AOC in 1994.
It unfolds in 14 communities located west of Roanne in the Loire, where it benefits from oceanic and mountain type climates.
The vines grow on granite, sand, volcanic rocks and basalt.
1- The Côte Roannaise rouge has a nice cherry colour with violet hues and pleasant aromas of red fruits and ripe black fruits.
It is a well balanced and excellent value for money wine that should be served at 14°C with charcuterie.
Some vintages should be kept for a few years.
2- The Côte Roannaise rosé has a delicate salmon colour and aromas of exotic and white fruits.
It is a round, delicate but lively and refreshing wine that should be served at 8°C for aperitif.
Saint-Pourcain is certainly the most famous wines of the Auvergne Vineyard.
In the 14th century King Philip the Fair entered the wine from Saint-Pourcain in the first organized wine competition.
The vineyard unfolds in 19 municipalities located around Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule in Allier.
This 640ha vineyard was granted an AOC in 2009.
This is one of the oldest French vineyards.
The Romans planted it 2000 years ago and the Benedictine monks developed it in the Middle Ages.
A highly trusted name in the 14th century, it was entered into the first wine competition organized by King Philip the Fair.
It was also one of the wines Dukes of Bourbon and Counts of Auvergne introduced at the royal court.
It enjoys from an oceanic climate with continental influences.
The Saint-Pourcain rouge and rosé are produced from Gamay and Pinot Noir, the white from Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Tressalier.
The vines grow on a variety of soils that include sand in the Bourbonnais, but also granite, limestone, clay, volcanic rocks and basalt.
1- The Saint-Pourcain rouge has a cherry colour with vivid purple hues, and aromas of red fruit (cherries in particular) with floral and spicy notes (violet, peony and pepper).
It is a versatile, round, fresh, spicy and light wine with enough tannin to be full bodied enough.
It should be served at 14°C and is excellent with charcuterie.
Some vintages keep more than 5 years.
2- The Saint-Pourcain rosé is dark pink and has aromas of white and red fruit (raspberry) with floral and spicy notes.
It is a round, bright and pleasant to drink wine that should be served at 10°C for the aperitif.
3- The Saint-Pourcain blanc is pale yellow with greenish hues, and has aromas of citrus and fruit with white flesh, and floral notes.
This is a full, fresh and fruity wine that should be served at 11°C with fish.
Photos via Wikimedia Commons: Resource - Côtes du Forez - Côte Roannaise - Saint-Pourcain white - Please remember to drink responsibly www.drinkaware.co.uk – L'abus d'alcool est dangereux pour la santé, à consommer avec modération - Resource Vin-Vigne
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