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Among Americans, the Loire Valley is most often associated with gardens and castles and not much else. We journey the 150 kilometers southwest from Paris and take a day or two visiting Chateau de Chambord and Chenonceau, all the while enjoying the delightful flora and thinking of bygone days when princes and noblemen still roamed the cavernous halls in this ancient land. But the French know better. They know what we foreigners are just beginning to discover—that some of the most interesting, delicious, and affordable wines in the world hail from the chalky soil on which those famous castles stand.