Lock-down take 2. Day 24. 22nd November 2020.

First things first, a lovely long walk through the vineyards this sunny Sunday morning.

I walked up to Les Granges, the parcel where Vincent Carême and a group of Vouvray growers were planting young trees on Friday morning.

Planting between the parcel as they have done will mean that they have to leave a wide margin to allow a tractor to turn. That will mean less area under vine but a sacrifice that Vincent and Tania are happy to make if it increases biodiversity in the vineyard.

It’s lovely to see these local initiatives aimed at providing new habitats for wildlife. There are plans to plant a lot of hedges too in the coming months. All good stuff.

This evening is my Instagram Live with @pursuit_of_grapeness. Saira came with a friend to see us last year and is a keen supporter of the Loire and its wines. We’ve both chosen some wines to talk about so I’m looking forward to sharing our corner of the Loire in particular and of course its superb variety of wines later on.

As that will take place at 20h30 French time, that calls for an early dinner and an opportunity to taste the wines ahead of time independently and with food.

I’m in the mood for something spicy so made a pork shoulder curry and an aubergine curry. Quite different in flavour, the pork has a coconut cream, turmeric and lemon grass base and the aubergine has tomatoes, kecap manis, soy sauce, lime leaves and ginger. Both have a kick but neither are expecially hot.

All three wines are tasting fantastic alone and with the food, the Spring from Tania & Vincent Carême and Les Beaux Jours Pinot Noir Gamay from Emile Balland were a lovely match.

Le Grand Clos 2016 from Chateau de Villeneuve in Saumur Champigny was tasting fantastic. Much too refined for a curry. It would be spot on with a leg of lamb of confit of duck where the beautiful fruit and freshness would be very complementary.

And so, well fed and having had just a small glass of wine I joined Saira for the Insta Live. It was fun. We chatted about the Loire in general, the wide variety of wine styles available here and tasted some wines together. The star of the show was definitely Les Beaux Jours from the Coteaux du Giennois appellation. I’m sure Emile Balland will be pleased to hear that both his Sauvignon (which Saira had bought) and the Pinot Noir/Gamay (that I bought) came out as the discovery of the night.