Where the Loire meets the Vienne
A moody shot taken from the top of Chateau de Montsoreau this weekend.
Chateau de Brissac
Have you heard of the Chateau de Brissac in Brissac-Quincé just 20 minutes from Angers?
Churning butter at Beillevaire
Beillevaire is a family company that has 250 employees and has two sides to its business. It produces its own products (butter, yoghurt, fromage blanc, milk-based desserts, cheeses) and also buys in cheeses from all over France to matures on its premises.
How old is an old vine?
How old is an old vine? 30 years, 40 years, 50 years, more? Actually it’s all rather in the eye of the beholder as there is no legal definition for the term vieilles vignes
Salt from Guerande
Gros Sel is the coarsest salt which is gathered from the bottom of the shallow clay lined pools of salt water while the Fleur de Sel is the highest quality and is carefully skimmed from the surface. This is considered a premium product and is used to sprinkle on food at the table.
Winter wine tours in the Loire
Wineries start to shut their doors after harvest has finished but here at le tasting room, we offer a day tour that is perfectly suited to the chilly winter weather.
New oak barrels
A new 600L demi-muid from Franz Stockinger will cost around 3000€ – a substantial investment for a grower to make bearing in mind that 5 years later its resale value will only be 500€.
Favourite restaurants in Angers – Le Pois Gourmand
Le Pois Gourmand is a locals’ restaurant just down the road from the Lycée Joachim du Bellay in Angers. It’s a quirky restaurant with around 25 covers and a perfect place for lunch. The menu is very limited and all the better for that. A choice of 2 starters, 2 mains and 2 or 3 desserts is standard and costs 18€.
Botrytis – is it noble or not?
Chenin Blanc is a grape variety that doesn’t ripen in a homogenous manner – all stages of maturation can be seen on one bunch with under ripe, perfectly ripe, super ripe, and botrytis affected grapes all jostling for position.
Frederic Mabileau has 28 hectares in the St Nicholas de Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Saumur and Anjou appellations. Since 2005 all grapes have been hand harvested and then sorted again on arrival at the winery to ensure only the best quality grapes are selected . Today the vineyards are all certified organic and the domaine embraces the bio-dynamic approach in an attempt to try and preserve the delicate balance between the vine and its environment.
Savennières Roche-aux-Moines Clos de la Bergerie 2008
It’s been a while since we had a bottle from Nicolas Joly’s estate in Savennières. I’m a big fan of the 2008 vintage generally for Chenin as it has a wonderful floral note on the nose that is generally easy to spot. We always drink Savennières straight off the rack and avoid putting it in the fridge as this dumbs the wine down with the result that you miss out on all the complexity of aromas and flavours.
Boat trips on the river Loire
We sometimes complain a little – restaurants close on a Sunday evening and all day Monday, everything grinds to a halt during August, people don’t speak English. And then we have a perfect day like this when we go out on the river Loire with local boatsman Alain Gillot and afterwards enjoy a cold beer in the café by the church in Le Thoureil and realise that we don’t really want it to change.