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Vouvray and Montlouis

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Cave des producteurs de Motlouis-sur-Loire

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. Somewhere among these dusty bottles is a Haut Brion 1901……

The cellars under the chateau de Valencay

Wine Fair – Blois November 2012

Blois wine fair

There are a lot of wine shows and winery open days at the moment. On Remembrance Day Sunday we travelled up through the Sologne woodlands to Blois, where a Vinomedia wine fair was being held at the Grain Market.

With forty-three stands, this was not a huge show, but great value and a lot of fun all the same. Vinomedia are a commercial outfit who put on shows of this sort throughout France. On this occasion they had winemakers from 33 appellations represented. Those from the Loire included Les Vignes Herbal from Anjou, Domaine de Poterne from Chinon, Domaine de la Closerie of Coteaux du Layon, Domaine des Tileuls offering Muscadet and Florent Bardin showing Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre.

This great range of Loire wine producers were joined by others from area France, from the Alsace in the east to Bordeaux in the west, and right down to the Languedoc and Roussillon in the south. Samples were enthusiastically offered and included Champagne and Cognac; having tasted we could not resist a few cases for the cellar. In addition to Bordeaux’s from the Medoc and St. Emillion, we purchased a Moulin à Vent, all from the 2010 crop. From the Loire we selected a rather lovely sweet Coteaux du Layon produced from old Chenin Blanc (Pineau de la Loire) vines. These are harvested very ripe fruit, sun-dried on the vine, called passerillé grapes.