A week in Loire Valley: Part deux
Our first night camping in Saumur (pictured) was a little rough with no foam to lie on, but the wine certainly helped to anaesthetise us. With a taste of Bourgueil, Saumur and Chinon under the belt, Touraine AOC was next on the hit list.
The Chenin Blanc of Chateau de l’Aulee had our attention after the spectacular Langeais Castle. ‘Le Chateau White’ is the entry level Chenin, a fairly uncomplicated, refreshing, fruity drop with a hint of minerality. Definitely a lunchtime wine for the ladies, and it would have matched perfectly with grilled fish and salad. The ‘Vieilles Vignes’ dry white (again, 100% Chenin Blanc) was made from smaller batches that grow on vines over 40 years old. Time in oak added a fuller, richer body to this one, so it would cope well with veal, chicken or goats cheese.
Here’s a snippet of the grounds of Chateau de l’Aulee, with our signature shaky camera work.
The biggest surprise was the quality of the sparkling Chenin Blanc. The ‘Intense’ (Méthode Traditionnelle), which consisted of 20% Chardonnay, had a biscuity nose with rich fruit flavours and the structure and length to match. An absolute winner. ‘Le Chateau’ Chinon AOC Rouge satisfied my craving from our previous exploration of Cabernet Franc. Again, light and bouncing with fruit.
Touraine AOC also produces superb Sauvignon Blanc. Unfortunately we didn’t make it as far east as Sancerre, but I wasn’t too concerned with the quality we had on the doorstep of our lightweight two-man tent. Included in our visits were a number of very proud vintners making tiny quantities for local consumption, and our very own Domaine du Pre Baron, who again reminded me of why Touraine has such an established reputation for producing top end Sauvi’s at low end prices.
On Friday’s post (Part three) I’ll bring you through Vouvray and unveil Curious Wines first wine tasting video (the first of many I suspect). In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a bit of Parisian musique from the Montmarte district, just outside the Sacré-Cœur. Aww, they’re so cute!