France: Loire Wine Tasting Part 1

Day 13  Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Following a delightful breakfast, we met in the the pigeon roost to make plans for the day.

Each hole held a pair of pigeons.


We toured around the Saumur area today and we wouldn’t begin to be able to follow our tracks on a map. Our host took us on back roads that were behind the back roads.

The first winery was the smallest of the big wineries in the area. The guide “taught” us about the winery in a building that used to be a one-room school for boys. She did a fine job and Jim was the star pupil who knew all the answers. We saw the wine being gently pressed in a large cylinder with an inflatable bladder that pressed the grapes from the center of the cylinder toward the outside that had perforations through which the juice seeped. All of their grapes are picked by hand so the stems are still on them. Once the juice is pressed out, the bladder is deflated and the skins and stems are dumped out of the cylinder. We toured the caves that were originally carved to quarry the stones to build the houses in the surrounding town—now being used for wine production.

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We had a picnic lunch under the portico of a small 13th century church overlooking the Loire River, vineyards, and several small towns. It was very picturesque.

The view of where we ate lunch
The view of where we ate lunch
The view from where we ate lunch
The view from where we ate lunch
The view of lunch
The view of lunch

In the afternoon we went to two very small family-run wineries.

Given that there are really only two types of grapes grown here, chenin blanc and cabernet franc, it is amazing the variety of tastes that are created.

This looks like it would be great fun for about two minutes.
This looks like it would be great fun for about two minutes.
Deep in the cellar
House of the Black Wolves

We also visited a chateau with a pigeon house that makes the one at our place seem like a shack. It had a ladder system that rotated to gather the eggs and the pigeons from the thousands of pigeon holes. The chateau wasn’t shabby either and we were told that it has the deepest dry moat in Europe.


For dinner this evening we went to nearby Le Puy-Notre-Dame. Wine was first produced in the town and surrounding area in the 6th century. Our hosts suggested a little restaurant across from the church, and gosh it was good.


We each had cauliflower soup that was almost cloud-like.

More please

We had cod and pork, both of which were super. That was followed by a roasted banana and chocolate pastry and chocolate mousse with coffee cream. This dinner was outstanding. We drank water with dinner—we’re done with wine until tomorrow.

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