Le Tasting Room is a small Loire wine tour company run by us, Cathy & Nigel Henton, English wine professionals with 35 years experience of working in the wine trade both in France and the UK. Tours and tastings are run from our countryside home in the Loire valley.
I fell in love with wine shortly after I left school and spent my career in the UK working for a number of large wine & spirit companies before setting up my own business specialising in wine education. In 2003 I had the desire to improve my practical skills so returned to study for a further 2 years at Plumpton College (attached to the University of Brighton). I have the WSET Diploma (1986) and a Higher National Diploma in Wine Studies (Viticulture & Oenology 2005).
I spent 15 years working in agriculture and agricultural research but harboured a secret passion for wine. In 2003 I retrained in viticulture at Plumpton College and went on to run the Breaky Bottom Vineyard in Sussex under the guidance of Peter Hall. I have the WSET Advanced Certificate and a National Certificate in Farm Management.
Why come on a Loire wine tour with us?
We share a little of our lives with you and love to learn all about yours. It’s an exchange of cultures, lives, personal stories and a shared love of wine.
You’ll have lots of fun and learn loads too. As we only work with very small groups our days are highly personal but informal and we can gear the tasting to suit any level.
You come as clients and leave as friends and for us this is the biggest pleasure of all.
You spend the majority of the day with us at our home which is also our business. Built between the 16th century and 1869 it’s a typcial winemaker’s home built from the local limestone and partially underground.
During the morning Cathy leads a tutored tasting of 6 different wines from 6 appellations. Most tours only focus on one region (if you are in Vouvray you’ll only taste Vouvray !). This means you’ll come away with a greater understanding of the region as a whole and have tasted wines from at least 7 different producers during the day.
You’ll enjoy a home cooked lunch prepared by us and served in our beautiful candlelit cellar. We use our own herbs and salads from the garden and our cheese is sourced from the speciality cheese shop Beillevaire in Angers which is a Loire based company with shops in Paris & London.
Our wine tours are ‘slow’ tours. We take our time and enjoy the peace and tranquility of living in the Loire valley.. We enjoy a lazy lunch and do just one winery visit in the afternoon. You can rest assured that after a whole morning tasting wine with Cathy this is more than enough.
And if you’d like to spend a little more time here with us that can be arranged too. An extra day or two of winery visits is a lovely way to consolidate all that you’ll have learnt with us.