The Loire Valley…was a good stop on my back to Britany; and after all the reds I had in Languedoc, a fair excuse to spend some times with the whites.
LOIRE valley is BIG; it spreads from Nantes to Sancerre…5 times the distance from HK to MACAU…
No gambling, no casinos there except in LA BAULE, but some of the greatest heritage of French history, its castles.
So if you look for a romantic escape, I suggest you to have a Loire experience over a two to three days journey there.
I give you some key words : Orleans & Jeanne d’ARC, François the 1ST Fouquet’s affair…French crown use to love the destination for bagatelle and HUNTING…And guess what , yes there’s plenty to drink meanwhile wondering around the gardens of our old castles…
1ST MUSCADETS: Taste the OCEAN influences and very green dry whites being the pays NANTAIS’s signature offering you its muscadets, because you might not want to try the gross plant made out of Cépages FOLLE BLANCHE or “MAD WHITE… Remember you are just next to the Atlantic shores, which means sea food feast and fresh fishes Wild sea bass, lobsters… so DRY WHITES would do the trick no worries! In case you want some light claret you can give a go to GAMAY from Ancenis coteaux.
Then you just follow the Loire up to its source: the further up you go next to Angers to try all the Anjou-Saumur appellations Coteaux de l’Aubance, coteaux du Layon, Saumur, Saumur Champigny, Quart de Chaume, and Bonnezeaux…to finishing with some amazing experiences being, just next to the village of St Georges sur Loire, the wonderful Savennières La Roche aux Moines and la coulee de Serrant that is just 5 acres big…
Vast program to be covered in one day drive…so make sure you taste and spit or just confirm your bookings in one of the hotel de charm of the area; during summer it’s quite cool and very busy.
After that well you keep going up & up and next stop should be the Côteaux de Tourraine with its easy reds of St Nicolas de Bourgeuil & Chinon. Cabernet Franc is the main grape, light colored reds and very fruity as well, to be drunk soon, no keepers here.
Last appellations are Sancerre, Reuilly, Quincy and Pouilly sur Loire…Sorry; I must say if you want a full coverage of the zone you might need to take a 5 day’s journey.
This last stop is a must because the aromas and flavors of the whites here are truly fun with lots of acidity, fraicheur, and the soil provides the whites with gun powder stony taste, called after “Pierre à fusil”.
Unlike you I was not on a holiday trip/ romance…I was in a fare, a wine fare, less glamorous but a good occasion to do the loop in one day.
The Angers wine festival offered a free tasting area coming with more than 300 different labels of all the appellations.
How to start? What to focus on? Did I had all of them? HELL NO!!!
Here is a quick selection I did. Muscadets are fun wines but I am very use having Muscadets or Sancerre in Britany…it’s the next door region and my home place. Plus I don t particularly fancy the melon d’Espagne…So I tried to have a nice slice of SANCERRE and POUILLY FUMES.
I would recommend Chateau Favray, very pale yellow color, lots of herbs, apple & citrus flavors for the 012 blend.
The small and familial domain of the Pabiot family, Pabiot Jean & fils; and Jonahattan and Didier Pabiot for their “petit-fumé”, very well balanced and mineral juice, coming along with Pouillys from Tinel Blondelet and Hubert Veneau, Cedrik Badin is also a must experience.
All is family business here, and no secret the magic results in the art craft of blending the juices…as always.
I hope this quick overview gave you the will to experience something different. Please notice if you can have once in your life Savennières or Serrant; you are being very well treated…Otherwise, no wonder you will someday soon bump in the sommelier of your favorite cellar or restaurant and he or she will surely guide you nice and smooth in to these vast appellation country.
WINE’s UP, CHEERS JUJU