The old world idea of terroir, that a wine or cheese or even an olive can express different characteristics depending on where it is grown, cannot rightly be said to apply to the Loire Valley as a whole. With its headwaters in the Massif Central and its mouth opening in the Atlantic Ocean it travels roughly 629 miles and covers many different soil types from ancient seabeds to flinty hard rocks. It passes through lots of countryside and many different grape varieties are grown there including Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir for reds and the very diverse tasting Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne for whites. Even with all of the differences, history has shown that the river ties the region together in other ways. Not only did the broad agricultural region provide a giant garden with which to feed the city of Paris, but the ease of transport that the river provided helped make sure that the best wines of the area were traded widely and helped make the Loire famous for quality wines. As large of an area as the Loire is, it is still known for exceptional quality today, and farmers that are deeply committed to making wines that honor both tradition and respect for the earth that they live on.