Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Anjou, important, revitalized, and varied wine region in the western Loire centred on the town of Angers, whose influence once extended all over north west France. Anjou was the birthplace of Henri II, and its wines were some of France’s most highly regarded in the Middle Ages (see loire, history). It was the dutch wine trade, however, that developed the sweet white wine production of the region in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it would be some centuries before the citizens of Paris rather than Rotterdam had the pick of each Angevin vintage. White grapes predominated until the 19th century, when the Anjou vignoble reached its peak and phylloxera arrived. Subsequently a wide variety of less noble grape varieties were planted, including a number of hybrids, although Chenin and Cabernet Franc with some Cabernet Sauvignon are now the lynchpins, with the total vineyard having shrunk by a half from its peak. Rosé is by far the most important of the wines with Anjou in their name, then red, with Anjou Blanc produced on a relatively small scale.