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Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’

One of the things we do in the winter is work hard on the things that make this place a better place to visit for our guests in the summer. It really is like having a full-time job, what with researching useful links with other businesses, trying to forge new and interesting relationships with people in similar lines of work, and generally building on what we already offer. I must admit I enjoy it, I find it refreshing to see different ways of offering the same thing, and I get excited when someone offers to share these things with us.

Here’s a point in case. Our friend Gérald visited Le Chant d’Oiseau each week last summer to offer our guests a unique insight into his domaine’s wines. It’s not simply a case of sniffing & guzzling each wine in turn, nodding appreciatively and on to the next…

What Gérald does is guide you through the process, in English, or French, from the types of soils, to the varietals (the grape used), to how the grapes are actually fermented – not all wines are the same, and how they’re then ‘improved’. There’s been many a time that he’s been sidetracked by interested wine-lovers, by the questions they’ve asked and he’s gladly supplied them with answers. Conversely, there have been so many times that we’ve been asked afterwards if there’s any way to get ‘closer’ to the whole ‘mystery’ of wine-making.

Which brings me neatly on to something we’re pleased to be able to offer this year. I haven’t mentioned it on the website yet, so it’s only readers of the ‘blog, and our Facebook Fan Page that are getting the news so far! Oh, this’ll be syndicated on Twitter too, just as soon as I hit the ‘publish’ button! What Gérald’s decided to do, as well as his weekly wine-tastings here with us, is to offer exclusive tours around some of his own personal favourite wines from his domaine.

This is how it’ll work…

Géralds private wine tour will be an entertaining and informative tour at a well reputed Domaine close to Saumur – where you’ll experience a working vineyard, and learn about as well as sample the Domaines’ exquisite wines whilst discovering what life for a vigneron involves.

Lunch, un buffet campagnard, will conclude your private wine tour & wine tasting.  Comprising of local artisans‘ cuisine and accompanied by a selection of wines, you will have the chance to discuss in greater depth les vins of the Val de Loire with Gérald, whilst relaxing at the delightful ‘Maison du Vigneron’, a charming cottage set amongst the Domaines vines.

The whole experience will last around four hours. It’ll cost just €85 per person, booked through Le Chant d’Oiseau. Now, to me that represents remarkable value. Not only are you in the hands of a respected and knowledgeable local vigneron, you’re also fed! You have your own private guide on hand to ensure you improve on your knowledge of our local wines – among the most respected in the world! The price is based on a minimum of two people attending.

For an extra €5 per person, we’ll take you to the domaine and pick you up when you’ve finished, leaving you to enjoy the day (and the wines) with no travel worries at all!

If this interests you, and we hope it does – please let us know when you’d like to visit Gérald, and we’ll take care of everything for you.

Here’s what one thrilled couple had to say about their day with Gérald.

“A true French experience…..”

“Our wine tour with Gérald was so interesting and informative – so much knowledge!  So much enthusiasm!  We learnt more about wine during our visit than in the last 30 years visiting France

Rose & Jeffery, July’09

We can be contacted by telephone on 0033 241 67 09 78, or by e-mail at info@loire-gites.com.

Until the next time, au revoir!

TBC

All content © Le Chant d’Oiseau, 2006-2010

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You may remember, a couple of ‘blogs back I was chatting about wine tasting? We’ve had a lovely experience recently that some of you may be interested in. Following on too from my ‘blog about ‘Twitter’, I came in contact with Cathy & Nigel, who run a business not too far from us called ‘le tasting room‘. They were in need of someone to take a few snaps of their guests enjoying a tasting session for an article due to be published in a magazine. They’d seen from my shameless use of Twitter to show the world some of my snaps, that I can use a camera from time to time. So, as they needed the images pretty quickly, but didn’t have a tasting lined up for a few days, they also asked if we could provide up to 6 willing volunteers from Le Chant d’Oiseau? Now, given that we attract a fair few people that love a glass (or two) of the nectar of the Gods, that was the easy part!

So, on the given morning, Nigel very kindly came to pick up some of our guinea pigs, and I followed in my own car. Nigel has a 9-seater mini-bus that’s used for transporting his clients from/to vineyards, producers, stations, airports etc. so that wasn’t a problem. From here to le tasting room is only a 30 minute journey, so not a huge distance to cover. It’s nestled on the shallow slopes away from the southern banks of la Loire in Cumeray, a delightfully sleepy little village, full of charm and character. Great views all around, and within easy reach of the river, and some lovely towns and villages alongside the water. Gennes is lovely, as is Les Rosiers and it’s only a few more clicks to Saumur, with all its attractions.

The tasting is a very laid back affair, with lots of information on the different vines, methods, regions of the Loire, the appellations system and loads of other useful stuff. That’s before you even touch a drop! We started the day with a little trip into Nigel & Cathy’s front garden, and their very own vineyard. This is a group of different vines which have only recently been planted, with the aim of showing clients what each variety looks like, as well as illustrating various methods of viticulure, grafting for example. It’s a lovely spot, with the backdrop of the house with its ancient vine winding its way across the front elevation.

Nigel & Cathy explain 'grafting'

Nigel & Cathy explain 'grafting'

Sybill the labrador's heard it all before...

Sybil the labrador's heard it all before...

After having the growth process, cultivation and harvesting explained to them, our volunteers were led around the back and down to ‘le tasting room’ proper, to sample a few glasses of gorgeous Loire valley vintages!

The tasting room itself is within the house, just a perfect place to do business, and this room does also double as an office space too. Here, our volunteers were treated to tastings of three different types of white wines from different regions and producers across the Loire. Cathy led her disciples of the vine through the various ‘senses’ used to distinguish one wine from another. She described what they were smelling and tasting, and also feeling, as each of the wines, with all their very different qualities do different things to the mouth! Gargling and spitting is the order of the day here, with Cathy expertly leading the way! Our volunteers decided to savour the experience though seeing as none of them were driving!

Sniff...

Sniff...

Swill around the glass and sniff again...

Swill around the glass and sniff again...

...and taste!

...and taste!

The guinea pigs worked their way through three white varietals, happily making notes and asking Cathy’s advice. After the whites, we moved onto the reds. So, back out into the warm sunshine to enjoy the early afternoon for  a few minutes and chat about what they’d learned from their visit so far.

Then, the doors were opened to the cave, where Nigel & Cathy had set out a table ready for their volunteers to sample a couple of platters of gorgeous home-made canapés as well as a few well-chosen reds of the area. It’s a stunning setting, nicely representative of these types of ‘maison de maitres’ in the area and very well lit (a photographer’s nightmare) in subtle alcoves and with downlighters. It’s impressive, and Cathy recounts stories of American guests who just love this type of setting.

Stunning setting for a wine tasting. Agreed?

Stunning setting for a wine tasting. Agreed?

On very hot days, it’s a delight to be able to retreat into the cool interior of the cave and relax while Cathy & Nigel impart their knowledge to you. For just €100 per person, you could enjoy a full day with the couple, being led to local vineyards by bicycle after a tasting to ramble among the vines, then return via a local café to a four course gourmet dinner served by candlelight in the cave. Superbe!

The canapés proved popular with the guinea pigs, and it was then onto tasting the three very different reds of the area.

Mmm. Canapés.

Mmm. Canapés.

Caution! Guinea pigs at work!

Caution! Guinea pigs at work!

Lots of laughs were had by all, questions asked and answered expertly given by Cathy & Nigel. Our team of tasters felt they’d learned enough in just a short few hours to make a more informed decision on what wines to choose when browsing the shelves of the local supermarkets, both here in France as well as back at home in the UK. The day was formally declared a complete success. I got a few images that I hope Cathy & Nigel will be able to use, our willing team of campers turned wine tasters felt they’d learned alot, and Nigel & Cathy – our hosts, were able to offer an insight into the wines of the area, well delivered in a language that our guests could understand.

Cheers!

Cheers!

With thanks to Cathy Shore and Nigel Henton of le tasting room. With grateful thanks also to our team of (very) willing guinea pigs – Sue, Nigel, Colin, Liz, Mandy & Rob.

If you’d like more information, just click on the links, or give Nigel & Cathy a call on 0033 241 79 80  21 to discuss your requirements. Cathy can also be contacted by e-mail on cathy@letastingroom.com

Until the next time, au revoir.

TBC

All content © Le Chant d’Oiseau, 2006-2009

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