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!