Lovely Loire - Two Day Wine Tour
France's longest river, rising way down in the south of France in the hills of the Cevennes then flowing north through the Massif Central then winding west to the Atlantic ocean. A mighty and majestic river that has always fascinated me, plus its valley has been responsible for creating some of my favourite wines. Crisp, fruity, refreshing - words that sum up the wines I love and on the Loire I use them abundantly. Again if you are travelling through Paris, nothing easier to jump on the fast TGV train to Tours, a great place to base yourself for 2 glorious days discovering this stunning region . Or an easy drive out on the A10 autoroute.
Morning pick up from your hotel in Tours then speed east out of the city and within a few minutes we are driving past fascinating troglodytic dwellings and wine cellars as we follow cliffs bordering the mighty Loire. The first stop is Vouvray, a small town and also the name of a multitude of incredible wines using the chenin blanc grape. We visit one of the top producers and are warmly welcomed into their labrynth like Troglydytic cellars carved out of the soft tufa rock, situated directly underneath their vineyards. The range is immense but we start with their bone dry wines going through to the rich semi
sweet then onto the excellent sparkling versions of both. All are Vouvrays, all use exclusively the chenin grape...your taste buds are in for a treat!
We stagger back out to the river and continue east till we spy the majestic towers of the Chateau D'Amboise, one of the many magnificent chateaux that most people associate with being the main attraction of the Loire valley... till now. Many great café and restaurants to enjoy a well-deserved lunch followed by a quick exploration of this stunning 15th Century château.
We leave Amboise and head south towards the the Cher river and the town of Montrichard to visit a Touraine wine producers, this appellation covers many grape varieties and we can enjoy delicious crisp whites from the sauvignon, chenin and chardonnay grapes and fruity light reds and rosés from the gamay, cot (malbec), cabernet franc and pinot noir grapes. Yes, these tastings can last a while ! Relaxing drive back towards Tours, passing the famous Chateau de Chennonceau which straddles the river Cher. Enjoy the evening in this lovely medieval town.
Brendan picks you up after breakfast and speeds you west out of the city following the river Loire till it meets the Vienne river. There, nestling under the impressive vestiges of its Chateau sits the pretty riverside town of Chinon, also the name of it's delicous red wine from the cabernet franc grape and the lesser known white from chenin. A short way along the river Vienne we are out amongst the vineyards where we visit one of the top producers deep in another troglodytic cellar, orginally used as a quarry back in the 15th century. We taste a range of delicious fruity red Chinons along with rarer rosé and whites which have all been vinified here in these underground galleries.
Return to the picturesque town of Chinon for lunch in local café and time to explore these medieval streets prior to driving north towards the Loire. Glowing slightly we through the impressive nuclear power station by Avoine then cross the Loire and into the village of Bourgueil to taste award winning scumptious Bourgueils from the same cabernet franc but grown on sandy, gravelly soils. Time for a gentle snooze as we cruise back along the northen back of the Loire to return to your hotel in Tours.