Articles from: May 2012

Wine Blog – A day tour

Its been somewhat busy to say the least and somewhat belatedly our wine tours update is extremely late. Sorry about that. We took two guests on one of our one day wine tours. Brenda and Dermot spent a day taking in the joys of the Loire wines and the characters who make these lovely wines.

We started on the terrace of Manoir with an introduction of the wines of the Loire which is always useful as the talk puts the tour into context and assists our guests with a basic knowledge of the Loire wine region.

Our morning visit was to Chateau de Chaintres where we were greeted by the estate director and winemaker Richard Desouche who took our guests for a tour of the vineyard followed by a visit to the wineroom, caves and wine store with a slow finish in the tasting room where Richard was able to take our guests through the wines made by the estate.

We enjoyed a somewhat slow lunch with Richard talking about all things french and some more and after Brenda and Dermot purchased some of the estate wines we departed somewhat late for our afternoon rendevour with Pierre at Domaine de L'Enchantoir. Pierre took us on a complete tour of the domaine and we finished in the tasting room.

It was a great day and our guests really enjoyed the day. Cheers.

Wine Blog – A supper evening

At Manoir de Gourin our Monday supper evenings are eagerly anticipated by our guests each week and yesterday was no exception with three couples joining us for an evening of fun and enjoyment with some delicious home cooked food from Karin and a great selection of local wines.

Brenda and Dermot, Tanya and Scott, and Janet and Christopher were instantly in conversation the moment they met on the terrace to toast the evening with a Vin Mousseux Qualite from Chateau de Brossay. 'Le Cerisier' a sparkling red made from three grape varieties. Cabernet Franc, Gamay, and Grolleau. A great entrance to the evening.

Our supper was indoors as the evening was cool and the entree was a goats cheese on puff  pastry with Beetroot and lambs lettuce with a balsamic vinegar dressing. Main was pork fillet with caramalised apple, sauted mushrooms with seasonal veg, then the cheese course, a creme brulee dessert and finally coffee.

Wines served were Saumur blanc, Saumur Rouge and Cabernet de Saumur from Domaine de L'Enchantoir, a sweet Coteaux du Layon from Domaine de la Saugourde and a sparkling red from Chateau de Brossay. A great evening that lastest well into the night! Cheers.

Wine Blog – Chateau de Chaintres vintage 2011

A swift visit to Chateau de Chaintres today to pick up our display board for the introduction talk as I left it behind after our three ladies wine tour on Monday. We have a tour booked on Tuesday next. Richard Desouche filled me in on the current vintages. So the 2011 'Domaine' has been quietly ageing in the chai stainless steel vats. Last week the cuvees were filtered and returned to the vats ready for bottling. The 2011  'Chateau' has been ageing in the stainless steel vats since both fermentation of alcohol and malo-lactic some 6 months ago. This has now been fed by gravity to the concrete vats in the old caves for ageing in the cool environment. They will age for 3 to 4 months before bottling. The 2010 'Oratorien' has been in barrels since vinification and on 9 May, a fruit day in the biodynamic calendar, Richard transferred the wine back into the vats for mixing and settlement before bottling. The 2011  pink cabernet de Saumur was bottled in March (on a fruit day). The 2009 sparkling Cremant de Loire is as fruity and creamy as the 2008 and ready for drinking now. Our tastings confirms that the 2011 vintage was as good as the 2010. So another year of Loire wines to savour. Cheers.

Wine Blog – Our wine tour on Monday

Three lovely ladies descended upon Saumur by train to partake on one of our day wine tours and did they look apprehensive when I met them at the station but wow how it turned out to be a wonderful day and to boot they bought the sunshine with them so we were able to picnic on the terrace outside taking in the wonderful view of the Saumur Champigny vineyards.

So lets start at the beginning. Friends Ashild and Siw from Norway and Janelle from America came from Paris via Angers to Saumur where I met them at the station in the morning for the start of our wine tour for the day. We travelled to Chateau de Chaintres where over coffee in the tasting room I gave a talk on the wines of the Loire valley. As I explained at the beginning my intention is to impart just sufficient information to allow guests to retain and usefully be able to use in the future say when confronted with a wine list that contains Loire Valley wines and know as far as possible the style of the wine. Obviously there are nuances like year and grape variety but the great thing about Loire wines is that by and large a particular appellation contains the same grape variety and the style unless specifically aged in oak is similar albeit there are nuances between estates and parcels even.

After our talk Richard Desouches the wine maker met us in the vineyard and after explaining the terroir and styles produced from the different parcels, we were shown the wineroom. Richard talked about the different vinification methods of the estate reds, pink and white and we then descended into the depths of the cellars where the cuvee  'Oratorien'  reds and whites are ageing in old barrels. Then to the chai and the tasting room for a run through the range of wines that the estate makes.

Our lunch as I said was on the terrace with Richard enjoying some home cooked food from Karin which the ladies enjoyed with a glass or three of the estate  wines.

It was Au revoir to Chaintres and on to the sparkling wine house of Gratien and Meyer with a visit to the caves and a tasting of the wines.

Our final visit was to the distillery of Combier in Saumur. The ladies had a private tour of the still room followed by a goodly tasting of a selection of the Combier liquers and cremes. A great end to a wonderful day. Our pic is of the ladies 'mucking about' in the Combier still room. Eiffel would be amused!

Wine Blog – Touring

We have two guests touring tomorrow from Norway with a friend from Paris. We are off to tour Saumur Champigny country to our favourite estate Chateau de Chaintres in the morning followed by a picnic overlooking the vineyards with the winemaker Richard Desouche. We'll start with an introduction talk I will give in the reception room over coffee which covers the history of the Loire valley wines, the appellations, styles and grape varieties from Nantes to Sancerre. In the afternoon we will take in a couple of the sparkling wine houses Gratien and Mayer and Ackerman or Veuve Amiot. We'll do the cave visit at Gratien as they take guests through the stages of making sparkling wine. So should be a good informative day. I will report tomorrow. Cheers.

Wine Blog – Open Day

Our visit on Sunday last to Domaine de L'Enchantoir, Loire Valley, France allowed us to taste the current vintages from winemaker Pierre Van Den Boom. There were 9 of us in total  Maggi and Peter, Liz and Roy, Sally and John, Francoise and us Simon and Karin. We worked through the range starting with the Saumur Blanc 'Chenin de Chavannes' a balance slightly towards acidity, Saumur Blanc aged for 24 months in old oak barrels giving a rounded smooth dry white of complex tannins. Cabernet de Saumur a dry pink made from cabernet franc, Cabernet d'Anjou a medium pink fruity and fresh for a hot summer fun day in the garden, Saumur rouge 'Le ligerien' a light fruity red for drinking on its own, Saumur Puy Notre Dame 'Le Pied a l'Etrier'  a more complex cabernet franc with a deeper fruit palette with more tannins developed over an ageing process in the vats. A wine for a lamb or Chicken dish. Saumur Puy Notre Dame 'Clos de Peit Chavannes' an oak aged wine left in old oak barrels for 24 months to develop the tannins. Pierre now has three sparkling wines: white, pink and red. We tried the red with the sweet course of a great spread of food for the occasion. The recipe is simple. Put stawberries into a bowl and add the red bubbly. Simple. Soupe de Fraise. Cheers.

May 2012
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