Montlouis is right across the river from better known Vouvray and also produces 100% Chenin Blanc wines. In fact until 1938 the wines were sold as Vouvray.
There are 3 communes, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Lussault-sur-Loire, and St-Martin-le-Beau. The first two are to the left of the Loire and the latter slightly south, and all possess a similar terroir to Vouvray although slightly sandier.
Montlouis is has been described as an up and coming wine area, and my recent (Sept 2011) trip to the Loire left me impressed. Some Moutlouis wines, notable François Chidaine's, have been highly rated. For example, noted American wine critic Robert Parker has rated his wines in the low 90s and much stricter scorer Steven Tanzer has given at least one of Chidaine's sparkling wines a very respectable and impressive 89 points.
A variety of wines are produced, including sparkling wines, of which we'll have a review below, and still wines ranging from sec, sec-tendre, demi-sec, and moelleux, meaning from dry to very sweet.
Domaine de L'Ouche Gaillard was established in 1987 and has 15 hectares under cultivation with an average vine age of 35 years. Their sparkling wine was suggested by a favored wine shop in the Loire, Les Trois Futs, as representative of a good sparkler from Montlouis. Although representative, there is a good chance you cannot get this locally but it's an excellent glimpse into what you'll be getting when you try a Montlouis Sparkler.
Tasting Note: Domaine de L'Ouche Gaillard Montlouis-sur-Loire Brut
A pleasant light golden color with small and fine but not long lived bubbles
Nose: A touch of yeast, pain grille, and soft ripe white fruits as it warms.
Palate: Fine bubbles, creamy and quite fruity with ripe apples. Delightful!
The star characteristic of this wine is the rolling creamy ripe golden apples on the palate. A bargain at roughly US$20!