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Coteaux du Layon

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It should come as no surprise that vignerons from the Coteaux du Layon have sweetened sweet wine-making into an art, as Chenin Blanc in varying degrees of sweetness is all they do. Their wines, which last astonishingly long and show a fine balance between sweetness and acidity, were highly prized by the Dutch in the 1500s. The best of these wines always come from two small sub-regions: Quarts de Chaume and Bonnezeaux.

While the Loire Valley is generally at almost the northernmost latitude where viticulture is possible, Coteaux du Layon benefits from its location along the Layon River tributary of the Loire. Vineyards have been planted on the steep right bank to the southwest, where the Layon has been carved deep into the shale, sandstone and clay to provide protection from the cold. The proximity of the river also creates conditions conducive to Botrytis cinerea in good vintages, despite the region's relatively dry, maritime climate.