Our latest wine tour took in Montlouis sur Loire, where we visited Laurent Chatenay’s cave des vins bio – a shop selling organic wines. We had a fascinating tasting of still Chenin Blanc wines from Montlouis, of 2010, 2006 and 2003 vintages. In this part of the world they never know in advance what type of wine they will be producing – it all depends on the weather. 2010 was not a hot year and the grapes produced a dry white wine. In 2006 it was warmer and the wine is demi-sec, while the 2003, the year with the famous hot summer which was responsible for the deaths of many elderly people, the resulting wine is sweet. In the very best years, when the summer is hot and there are drying winds from the East which turn the fruits to raisons on the vine, the luscious sweet wine can rival Sauternes.
The Cave des producteurs de Motlouis-sur-Loire was an interesting visit, with the cellars and bottling plant open to view.
After a picnic lunch by the Loire, we drove on to Vouvray, for a tasting at a favourite producers of sparkling wine at Rochecorbon, with its limestone cliffs towering over the river. We tried both still and sparkling and could not resist buying a csae of Brut Reserve.
On the way home we took our guests to the chateau at Valencay. We have been here many times but never visited the old cellars beneath the castle. Somehwhere amongst these dusty bottles is a Haut Brion 1901……