Saumur and it's magnificent Chateau. Now re-opened after the walls collapsed in the middle of the night 7 years ago and it began to slip down the hillside. The fortifications have now been rebuilt after seven long years of restauration. Worth a visit for the views over the Loire river and a spectacular picnic stop.
Caves de Vignerons Saumur based in St Cyr en Bourg - Here Phillipe explains how to make a sparkling rose wine. The Cave de Saumur is a vast cooperative but don’t let that put you off! Grapes are brought in from hundreds of surrounding grape growers covering 1350 hectares (3250acres), a wide range of styles of wines are made. There are 6 miles of caves to visit where the wine is bottled and stored and where the workers are nicknamed ‘Les Taupes’, the moles, because they work 25 metres underground all day.
Phillippe welcomes you to the tasting bar to sample the full range of wines, about 20 or so. Wine is also available direct from the tank if you bring your own container, it’s just like filling up at the petrol station and about the same price but tastes a whole lot better!
Domaine des Noades - Jacky Ripoche at the Saumur Wine Fair. Jacky Ripoche has 6 hectares of vines, a mixture of chenin blanc, cabernet franc, and some typical Anjou varieties such as grolleau.
He manages the estate alone and the wine is made in caves beneath our neighbouring village of Argentay. How he manages to make so many different styles is amazing; sparkling white and rose, oaked and unoaked reds, dry and demi sec whites, dry and demi sec roses as well as a dessert white, he produces the whole lot, always accompanied by faithful Border Collie ‘Oonagh’.
The name of the vineyard comes from a blend of his two childrens names, Noah and Jade, hence Domaine des Noades.
Château de Berry - Tasting direct from the barrel. Jaques used to work for The Ford Motor Company but now lives in this ancient fortified chateau in the little village of Berry south of Le Puy where he produces barrel aged wines kept deep in the caves.