Wine Touring of Loire Valley - Taste and buy the Classic Loire Wines of Sancerre, Pouilly Fume & Pouilly Sur Loire - Plus unforgettable Loire Wine Chateaux.
Pouilly Vineyard Walk
The House of Magic Bois
Facing Bois chateau and dedicated to the all-time great, Blois-born magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin The House of Magic. A brilliant museum, full of exciting gadgets and artefacts relating to the practice of magic that will entertain young and old alike. Rober Houdin is celebrated, a son of Bois, who lived in the 19th Century and inspired the Great Houdini to start in magic.
Bois -Old town - Vieux Ville - The Loire villages located near chateaux all also most all have interesting old towns.
Sancerre, the most famous appellation of the Centre Loire, produces the best-known, and most imitated Sauvignon Blanc wines in the world.
The vineyards are ideally situated on the left – South - bank of the Loire. The steep hillsides provide optimal exposure to the sun, an advantage in a cool climate, and the chalk and silex soils are perfect for fresh, fruity Sauvignon Blanc and perfumed, elegant Pinot Noir.
Wine making has a long history in Sancerre. Gregory of Tours wrote of vineyards here as early as the year 582, and local wines have enjoyed a good reputation since the twelfth century. For hundreds of years Sancerre was better known for its red wines, which were inexpensive, of dependable but unexceptional quality, and easily transported to Paris through the Canal de Briere that links the Loire with the Seine. However, when the phylloxera epidemic of the late nineteenth century forced the replanting of the vineyards, and grape varieties were chosen to take best advantage of soil and topography, white wine came to dominate and the quality of both red and white wines saw great improvement.
Of the 165,000 hectoliters of wine produced in 2005, 130,000 were Sauvignon Blanc, and 35,000 were Pinot Noir. On average, half of Sancerre’s annual production is exported. The vineyards of Sancerre cover 2,716 hectares. Four hundred growers and twenty-five negociants make wine in fourteen communes. The vineyards lie on a series of hill sides dominated by the “Piton” or peak of Sancerre. The geology of the soil results in three kinds of terroirs, Terres Blanches (“white earth”) is compact chalk and is characteristic of the western part of the region. Les Caillottes is gravel and limestone and the flinty silex-clay soil found in the eastern vineyards. Each type of soil produces wines with different characteristics. Les Caillottes produces fragrant wines that are ready to drink soon after bottling. Terres Blanches wines are somewhat bigger and need a year or so to open. Wines grown in silex soil have a strong mineral component that can suggest smoke. Some producers like to blend wines from the three terroirs for balance, while others prefer to let the character of the terroir determine the character of the wine. A few producers will age exceptional wines in wood. These wines develop a rich flavor and a pungent floral bouquet after several years in the bottle. White Sancerre is lively and fruity. Its aroma suggests both citrus fruits (especially grapefruit) and the minerals of the soil in which it was grown. It pairs well with shellfish, and excellent for delicate, white-fleshed fish such as snapper, striped bass or Dover Sole. Older Sancerre can stand up to foie gras or strong cheeses.
The aroma of red Sancerre suggests Morello cherries. The wines are light bodied and supple with a long finish. They are excellent for simply grilled or roasted meats that are not heavily seasoned or sauced. They, like the white wines, are ideally suited to the goat cheese for which the Centre Loire is also famous.
A small amount of Sancerre Rosé is also produced from Pinot Noir. These wines are very pale pink in color, with notes of red currants and apricots. They are youthful and fresh, and are perfect with light summer fare.
POUILLY FUME & POUILLY SUR LOIRE - Classic Internationally restpected white wines.
Situated opposite Sancerre on the Eastern bank of the Loire, the vineyards of Pouilly cover 2 AOCs: Pouilly Fumé and Pouilly sur Loire. Two grapes are dominant: Sauvignon Blanc (sometimes called Blanc Fumé de Pouilly locally), used in the production of Pouilly Fumé, and Chasselas, used in the production of Pouilly sur Loire. The first recorded mentions of the vineyards of Pouilly occur in the fifth century AD. The vineyards saw the monastic influence increase with the sale of the vineyards to the quality conscious and wine knowledgeable, Benedictine monks. The vineyards cover 1,212 hectares in Pouilly Fumé in six communes: Garchy, St. Laurent,Tracy sur Loire, Mesves sur Loire, St. Andelain, and St. Martin sur Nohain. Pouilly sur Loirecovers 33 hectares on the right bank of the Loire. The terroir is varied, but limestone, flint and clay are the dominant. The presence of clay in the soil can give the wines a slightly rounder, creamier quality.About 74,000 hectoliters are produced annual in Pouilly Fumé, and just over 2,100 hectoliters in Pouilly sur Loire.
Pouilly Fumé often has aromas of chrysanthymums and grapefruit. The flint in the soils can give the wines a distinctive gunpowder note. The wines are refreshing in their youth - lots of exotic fruits, and some have the potential for long aging. With age, the fruit will then evolve into spices and smoked flavors that will pair perfectly with this white sea food, fish and dishes like lemon chicken
The Wines of Reuilly and Quincy
Ruilly wines are grown on 180 hectares of ancient vineyards on the banks of the river Cher, which joins the Loire from the south. Average annual production is 9,000 hectoliters. The soil of Reuilly is chalky limestone with quite a bit of gravel and sand. The white wines are floral, slightly vegetal and round. The red wines are light bodied with good fruit, and the rosés are soft and delicate, with a pale color.
Situated on the left bank of the Cher, the vineyards of Quincy grow on plateaus of sand and silt. The vineyards are planted exclusively in Sauvignon Blanc, brought here from the Abbaye des Femmes de Beauvoir by Cistercian monks, who were the first to make a study of which grapes grew best in particular climates and soils. In Quincy this grape produces wine entirely different from any other. Quincy is characterized by fresh, ripe citrus aromas, as well asthose of acacia and white flowers. Suggestions of menthol and pepper are also noticeable. The appellation covers 214 hectares and produces 10,000 hectoliters a year.
As in Reuilly, most of the Quincy wine is consumed in France so this is an opportunity to discover some new favorites.
Between Quincy and Sancerre, Menetou-Salon (450 hectares, producing 25,000 hectoliters) lies on chalky sediment. The white wines are spicy and perfumed. They combine citrus fruit and floral elements in perfect balance. The red wines are supple, fragrantand rich, with a long finish.
TinTin Museum - First appearing in the books "The Secret of the Unicorn" and "The Treasure of Rackham the Red," the chateau of Moulinsart the home base for Tintin and his companions. This tie inspired the Domaine de Cheverny and the Fondation Hergé to come together to create a permanent exposition called "The Secrets of Moulinsart."
The Cour-Cheverny is a small appellation east of Tours.
The vineyards are small parcels over 11 communes in the Loir-et-Cher département (Cellettes, Cheverny, Chitenay, Cormeray, Cour-Cheverny, Huisseau-sur-Cosson, Mont-près-Chambord, Montlivault, Saint-Claude-de-Diray, Tour-en-Sologne and Vineuil). It is a young appellation,created 1993 and is of interest to wine enthusiasts as only white wine is produced from the little known Romorantin grape.
This grape variety was introduced by Francois 1er in 1519 and planted in the surrounding area of the castle of Romorantin where his mother lived. The grape adapted well to the climate and soil and so took the name of mom’s castle Romorantin and now the Cour-Cheverny appellation has kept the exclusive rights.
Cour-Cheverny is high-acid wine, with apple fruit notes that complements the intense minerality and acidity. When not ripe or not done well, the wines can be shrill and piercing. A chilled Cour-Cheverny wine can be served with asparaguses, fishes, scallops and white meat. At maturity, this wine will suit chicken, partridges and sea food. A wine to look out for in this region is the sweet wine Cour-Cheverny by a supplier like François Cazin's Cuvée Renaissance, made only in the best vintages when the grapes and affected by noble rot. It is an excellent, complex off-dry wine that ages beautifully.
From the city of Blois, drive 15km south to Château de Cheverny,it is a jewel among the more famous monuments that stretch along the Loire ValleyIt is a prime example of the purest Louis XIII classical style.
Near Saint-Aignan and Saint Roamin-sur- Cher are the other vineyards of the Cher Valley.
The most common grapes used in the wine making are Gamay – reds and rose - Tourain AOC and Sauvignon white wines and cremants. The wine are interesting and popular locally having with lightness and fresh flavours. If touring the area they are well worth trying as they are not expensive and could be a pleasant surprise.