Summer evenings in the Loire valley
This spell of warm weather is a delight and last night we enjoyed a BBQ in the garden with friends and family. Everyone brought something to the table – flowers, bread, nibbles, salads and puds as well as plenty of wine. So lovely to be able to sit outside until the early hours of the morning and enjoy the balmy summer evenings.
Tour de France 2013
Camera to the ready, point, wave and click. Dither and you’ll miss it. The Tour de France 2013 passed by yesterday and we joined in the fun.
Loire Wine Discovery Tour in the Coteaux du Layon
The Coteaux du Layon is perhaps most famous for its wonderful sweet wines but producers in Anjou have a wide palate to play with so tend to make many other styles of wine too including sparkling, dry white, rosé and red. The landscape is quite different to elsewhere in the Loire valley and is well worth a visit on foot, by car or cycling through the vineyards.
Sun at last in the Coteaux du Layon
A few photos taken on Sunday in the Coteaux du Layon. The topography is different in the Layon to elsewhere in the Loire valley . Rolling hillsides and vines planted on slopes are the norm and the scenery is just beautiful.
La Piautre – Anjou micro-brewery
La Piautre is a micro-brewery just a hop across the river from us in La Menitré (no pun intended). Established in 1999 the actual brewing facility was opened in La Menitré in 2004 and since then has been enjoying local success. The range includes a Blonde, Brune, Ambre, IPA and Stout as well as seasonal brews and one-offs like this Tombé dans l’Aubance.
Flowering in the vines at last
At last – after all the recent bad weather and a distinct lack of sunshine we thought it would never happen. Flowering is an important stage in the life cycle of the vine and weather conditions during this time will have an impact upon the quality of the bunches that follow. In an ideal world we hope for warm sunny days and a light breeze.
Excited to find a new product from one of our local producers. Locally produced farm butter loaded with crystals of salt – delicious. I have a particular weakness for butter so try and avoid it most of the time or it could easily get out of hand. This is just amazing – it glistens and is creamy and rich and the salt crystals melt on your tongue.
Cabernet Franc in Anjou
It’s interesting to see how the vintage year has such an impact upon vine development. In 2011 the Cabernet Franc sprung into action early and by the end of May they were in full flower. In 2012 you can see that the vines have not reached that point and this year we are even further behind with the lack of sunshine throughout May. We count 100 days from flowering to harvest so it looks like we’ll be picking considerably later this year.
Visellio Primitivo Salento 2010
A rare treat to go off-piste and enjoy a bottle of Visellio Primitivo Salento 2010 last week. Primitivo is the grape variety (known in the US as Zinfandel) and in this case comes from Salento – the heel of Italy. Big flavours of plums and cherries with a smokiness backed up by rich yet soft tannins, it was just perfect served alongside a chilli con carne.
Secrets of the River Wine Tour
The weather was perfect yesterday afternoon for our Secrets of the River tour. After a morning spent wine tasting here in our 16th century tasting room, we enjoyed a lazy three course lunch in our old barrel cellar and then went down to the river for an hour and a half on the water in an old sand dredging boat.
A glass of Chenin Blanc in the sunshine
At last summer seems to be making an entrance and last night we were lucky enough to spend a lovely evening with friends who live right in the heart of the Coteaux du Layon. Sitting outside in their garden overlooking the vineyards was the perfect time to share a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc.
Sunrise in the Loire 3rd June
A few pictures taken at 7am this morning. When the sun rises and the sky is blue everything comes to life. The limestone glistens and becomes golden and the herbs, flowers and vegetables take on richer tones than at other times during the day. There’s a peace and tranquility too, broken by the sound of the cuckoo in a nearby tree in the hamlet.