And very beautiful it was too.... as was the view over the town and the Loire...
The town itself was a beautiful example of Mediaeval architecture and really quite a buzzing little place... In some ways I regretted not travelling just a little further and staying here last night, but hey ho, we live and learn.
There is a wine and cooperage museum, which I decided to visit....Well, I arrived and was directed through a door, down some steps (on my own) and into a dark room with life size puppets.... a bit spooky really. Anyway, I made my way round the quite informative presentation until the last room, which was back on ground level, which was a man and his wife supposedly sitting in front of the fire chatting about the wine, but it was really rather rude, a little lewd and quite unexpected. Then the owner of the museum arrived offered me wine and had a jolly old chat before his chum arrived and in turns pawed at me and, well I can only describe it as leering really..... Not good. I mean, well, my advice would be not to visit if (a) female and (b) travelling on your own. Do I think they realised? Probably not..... They were just dancing over the line between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, but I'm a great one for trusting your instincts and I felt uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, I did taste a petit rouge:
AOC Chinon 2009 (rouge) - Domaine Sourdais-Taveau - This 100% Cabernet Franc smelled of sunny red fruits and tasted of red and black fruits with tannins, though not overwhelming.
As I walked past one of the local bars, I was invited in to taste a rosé
AOC Chinon 2009 (rosé) - Domaine de la Commanderie - Again 100% Cabernet Franc and made in the saignée way with a light cherry nose and a subtle taste of red fruits with a tannic aftertaste. The colour was offputting as it was very bubblegum pink!
Bourgueil was my next stop, home of an abbey this time:
I drove out to the neighbouring Restigné to the Cave des vins de Bourgueil, where the very lovely hostess offered me 6 wines.
These are all 100% Cabernet Franc, though it is not unknown for up to 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon to be blended:
- AOC Bourgueil 2008 - Pierre 1er Dupin (rosé) - A nose of wild strawberries and similar taste, but with distinct tannins, (Saignée method).
- AOC Bougueil 2008 - Marie Dupin (red) - Nose of raspberry, cherry and violet and tastes of wild strawberry and deliberate tannins.
- AOC Bourgueil 2008 - "Cuvée Signée" par Romain Parasis Maître de Chai (red) - Aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, cherry, strawberry and violet and on the palate strong red fruits, particularly redcurrant, but with high tannins.
- AOC Bourgueil 2007 - Philippe de Valois (red) - a wine very characteristic of the appellation - Scents of deep plum jam and flavours of red and black fruits, slightly spicey with more integrated tannins.
- AOC Bourgueil 2006 - Domaine de Matabrune - this time the nose was sweeter, cherry jam and notes of cinnamon; while on the palate the same red fruits with more peppery spice and tannic notes.
- AOC St. Nicolas de Bourgueil 2008 - "Cuvée Signée" par Romain Parasis Maître de Chai (red) - An offering from the neighbouring appellation with similar sandy terroir as the 2nd wine above. The nose was red fruit and a bit leathery, but the red fruit and blackcurrant flavours were more roundly integrated with the tannins..... For my individual taste, the best of the reds.
|St Nicolas de Bourgueil|
Another very attractive town.... what can I say, it's like touring the houses of fairytale characters... Yesterday Sleeping Beauty..... Today Cinderella - the 'castles' are stunning, but they tend to be much of a muchness inside. As a tactical site, again it sits high overlooking the river, but the town itself is right on the banks...
And is filled with beautifully designed architecture in every street...
|Hôtel de Ville, Saumur|
- AOC Saumur 2009 - Domaine de la Girardine - "Cuvée Instinct" - A nose of rich red fruits; cherries and ripe plums with vegetal notes and similarly to taste cherry and plum flavours, but with a pepperiness and distinct tannins.
- AOC Saumur Champigny 2009 - Château de Parnery - Aromas of red fruits, blackcurrant and violets with the same flavours on the palate, but for the addition of spice - less tannins than the first.
- AOC Saumur Champigny 2008 - Domaine des Coutures - although red, this wine should be served chilled! The nose was damson and black cherries and the taste, again cherries, red and black, a hint of vegetal and the now expected tannins.
- AOC Saumur Puy Notre Dame 2008 - Domaine de la Paleine - Scents of violets, raisins and red and black currants give way to smooth, but intense spiced cherry flavours with tannins.
- AOC Saumur Champigny 2008 - Domaine des Sanzay "Vielles Vignes" - the 30-35 year old vines have produced a wine that has been aged for up to 12 months in oak barrels giving the nose a smokiness over red plums with a more cherry flavoured taste with the same tobacco smokiness and of course tannins.
After all the wines tasted today, it was time to head to Gennes for tonight's repose..... Not a luxurious hotel, but a real haven. Very lovely hosts, home cooked, fresh produce meals and a beautiful setting..... and somewhere to stop for more than one night - a good base if you would like to explore this part of the Loire. I also enjoyed a glass of white with my meal:
AOC Saumur 2009 - Domaine de Nerleux "Cuvée des Nerleux" - Floral apple and white peach aromas and a sweet apple and peach flavour with only hints of blossom.