Last week I was fortunate enough to get a break from talking wine to focus purely on the tasting. Oh, and this was all between discovering some of Europe’s most spectacular medieval castles (including the one pictured), beautiful villages and world-class cuisine.
After spending a couple of days in Paris, my girlfriend and I ventured south to the picturesque town of Tours in the heart of the Loire. First of all we travelled west through three of Loire’s AOCs; Bourgueil, Chinon and Saumur.
Our first stop in Bourgueil was Nau Freres and we were lucky enough to get a guided tour of the vineyard. You can see the grapes need more time before they are to be harvested (September/October).
After viewing the wine making facility, we were then taken into the caves (cellar), which was a great experience.
The grape of choice in Bourgueil and Chinon is Cabernet Franc. I recently wrote a blog post on this rather unfashionable varietal. Some may find the young wines a little harsh, but I tried the 2004 Vieilles Vignes from Nau Freres, and it was just superb. The 2003 was supposedly one of the best vintages in a decade, so if you see one grab it with both hands. The dry Rose was a real treat as well, so we brought one back to the campsite.
The light and fruity Cabernet Franc from Loire is a great summer wine. Think red fruits, black currant and green capsicum. Chinon has a similar terroir to Bourgueil, and I’ll be tasting one next to a cheap and nasty Malbec from Valencay in the third and final part of this mini series at the end of the week – so be there or be square!