The Anjou region of the Middle Loire is situated around the town of Angers and is known primarily for the rosé wines based on the Grolleau and Cabernet franc, including the Rosé d’Anjou and the Cabernet d’Anjou. The temperate oceanic climate there, mainly dry with minor variations in temperature, brought the proverbial “douceur angevine” – the mild tranquility of Anjou.
White wine made from the Chenin blanc is known as Anjou Blanc while Anjou Rouge is often made from Cabernet Franc. Some of the higher quality wines are often labeled with the AOP designation Anjou-Villages. The Chenin blanc grape has been planted in the region since at least 845 AD. Throughout the years it was known in the region under a variety of synonyms including Pineau de la Loire. The monasteries played a major role in helping to develop the Anjou vineyards, as each had its own enclosed plot of vines. When Henry Plantagenet became King Henry II of England in 1154, the royal court began to serve Anjou wines, and continued to do so even after his death – so for nearly a thousand years, the crowned heads of France and England had a part in boosting recognition of Loire Valley wines. As a result, the vineyards expanded during the 16th and 17th centuries from their original location on the banks of the Loire further towards its tributaries.
The appellation area comprises two distinct regions: Anjou Noir, or ‘Anjou sur Schistes’ on the dark, schist based soil of the south-eastern edge of the Massif Armoricain,- the larger of the areas; and Anjou Blanc, or ‘Anjou sur Tuffeau,’ a smaller area of lighter-colored soils – altered chalk (tuffeau) at the south western extremity of the Paris Basin.