The Loire Valley is possibly the most beautiful wine region of France, and is referred to as “the smile of France”. This region, located in West Central France, is named for the Loire River, which flows East to West from its source in the hills of Auvergne for about 650 miles, before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to 70 appellations and roughly 175,000 acres of vines, and it is France’s largest wine region. Spanning such a large and diverse area, it is very hard to generalize about Loire’s wines, they are very diverse in style, soil, terroir and grapes. Historically, French kings built fabulous pleasure castles there in the 15th and 16th centuries, and elegant Chateaux in 17th and 18th centuries, many of which are still standing today in their splendor. Among some of the Loire’s most important wines are: Pouilly Fume (Sauvignon Blanc grape), Pouilly-sur-Loire (Chasselas grape), Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc grape), Touraine (Cabernet Franc grape), Vouvray (Chenin Blanc grape), Bourgueil (Cabernet Franc grape), Anjou Rose, Saumur (sparkling wines). About ¾ of all wines produced in the region are white.