Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Our Very First Tour (2010)


We are still in lockdown so here is another repost. This one is an account of our very first real tour as Loire Valley Time Travel with real paying clients, from 8 April 2010.

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Célestine with Chenonceau in the background.
Citroen Traction Avant with the Chateau of Chenonceau.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.We went up to Tours in Célestine yesterday to meet Scott from New York and his mother Sally from Alaska for a day excursion while they are on holiday in France. They braved a train strike to get from Paris to Tours, and I hope they got back OK, as today is Sally's birthday (Happy Birthday to you, Sally). After the hustle and bustle of a few days in Paris they found it very pleasant to come to the peace and quiet of the Touraine for a day.

The gardens at Chenonceau are looking pretty.
Catherine de Medici garden at the Chateau of Chenonceau.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The predicted rain held off and we visited Chenonceau, lunched at Le Bonheur est Dans le Pré in Bléré (pronounced the best lunch they've had so far in France by Scott), then on to Clos Lucé in Amboise, Leonardo da Vinci's last home (where they've made a little Leonardo go a loooooong way!).

After that we dropped in to the Château Gaudrelle caves on the Quai de la Loire in Rochecorbon (Vouvray), which Sally loved. We tasted a range of 8 wines, from a dry sparkling white (€6/bottle) through to a sweet dessert wine (€18/half bottle). It was a most interesting lesson in how terroir influences wines because we had the opportunity to taste two wines made the same year, from the same grape variety, same age vines, growing only metres apart. These two wines were completely different, and the only variable is that the soil changes in those few metres from argilo-siliceuse (sandy clay, somewhat acidic) to argilo-calcaire (clay and limestone, which is alkaline). The dessert wine is made with grapes that are allowed to dry on the vine until they are like dried currants. Hence the sugar is very concentrated (140g compared to 3g in the still dry white). It's more expensive because the same quantity of grapes produces far less wine. After being shown the wine production areas we all bought a selection of wine and who should we bump into there but Jim Budd, the wine writer, who has also written about his visit on his blog.

Jim Budd (left) with Alexandre Monmousseau,the owner / winemaker of the Château Gaudrelle
winery, with Scott in the background buying winefrom Alexandre's partner Eric Pasquier.
Tasting room at Chateau Gaudrelle, Vouvray.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
To finish off the day we went round the as ever impressive gardens at Villandry, then it was back to Tours so Scott and Sally could catch their train back to Paris.

Susan

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

4 comments:

chm said...

Good posts never die!

The Arbois "vin jaune", if I'm not mistaken, is made from dried up grapes, also!

Susan said...

Could be :-) I've never heard of that particular vin jaune. Good to see you online anyway.

chm said...

I was mistaken, it is vin de paille which is made that way.

Susan said...

I have heard of vin de paille, but never drunk it, to my knowledge.

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