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One of France’s most northerly winegrowing regions along with Champagne, the Loire Valley is celebrated for its mild climate and the beauty of its Renaissance chateaus. The river, a major trade axis and also an access route for invaders, played an important role in the history of the region. Vines were developed in parallel with Christianity from St. Martin, Bishop of Marmoutier, in the 4th century through to the ruin caused by the Holy Wars. The Loire Valley was also the cradle of artistic development in the 16th century with Ronsard, Du Bellay, Rabelais, Descartes and Leonardo da Vinci.
There are four distinct winegrowing regions: the Pays Nantais, Anjou-Saumur, Touraine and Centre, mainly producing white wines and “clairets”, light and fruity wines, made from a short maceration of red grapes.
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