Our next trip featured two Loire valley chateaux in the Saumur region, first up is Chateau Langlois. The chateau is grasping the benefits of wine tourism with an Ecole du Vin, restaurant and well appointed tasting room.
After a refresh in the geology of the area and the scale of economies producing wine under the AOC system, we were given a guided tour of the wine production facilities which were very modern with much automation.
Our guide showed us the 1 Km long caves below, housing hundreds of thousands of bottles. During this, we were shown the method champenoise and how the lees are ingeniously removed by freezing, then opening the bottle.
Of the wines we tasted the Domain Langlois-Chateau Saumur rouge – cabernet franc was considered the better, the whites and roses were good but just seemed a little over priced for what they offered.
Lunch: A short distance away was the restaurant La Table des Fouees, carved into the rock like the storage cellars, it remained a very pleasant temperature. The menu was very good with further opportunity for enjoying the Langlois wines. Regrettably, we were whisked away before chance of a digistiff as the afternoons visit to Chateau Parnay was already behind schedule.
3 rue Léopold Palustre
Saint Hilaire Saint Florent
Tel: 0033 (0)2 41 40 21 40
E-Mail : email@example.com
Château de Parnay: A jewel in the crown of the AOC Saumur Champigny and a UNESCO world heritage site which has a enjoyed a very prestigious history supplying wines to Edward VII and the Tsar of Russia. Edward VII once wrote to a former owner, Antoine Cristal: “If the alchemists of the great work had known your wines, they would not have gone any further in search of drinking gold”.
Mathias Levron & Régis Vincenot took over in 2006 with a determination to restore the chateau and its wines to former prestige and glory and so far have done an admirable job. Ch Parnay was certified organic in 2013 and frequently win medals and awards at wine fairs. One of their many ambitions is to produce a wine from every variety of Loire grapes.
Most noteable on their estate is a walled section of the vinyard, with chimens – walls interspaced with three lines of vines. It was built at the end of the 19th century by Antoine Crystal and now classified as a historical monument. Ingeniously planted with the root on the shady side of the wall with the stem fed through a hole allowing leaves and grapes to bask on the sunny side. This not only provides shelter from frost but also protection from Phylloxera, a small aphid that feeds on the leaves and sap of the vine. Vinyards in Burgundy are often walled, noteably the 6 Hectare La Tache – probably the finest Romanee Conti which saved their vines during the outbreak towards the end of the 19th century which affected most of Europe.
Back at the chateau we were shown a maze of troglodyte caves and cellars housing maturing barrels, after which the modern tasting room a few hundred metres away beckoned.
First up: Chemin des Murs and very good it was too. The nose typical of a refined Chenin Blanc with fresh citrus fruits and a hint of quince. To the palate smooth, round with citrus fruit aromas, lasting with good length and six bottles were ordered. Not everyone agreed but wine is a personal thing with Chenin Blanc a favourite white grape of mine. I was extremely tempted by the Clos D’entre les Murs but it’s understandably expensive. A red was also tried, whilst very smooth, was unfortunately lacking and we all agreed the Langlois Cabernet Franc the better.
Chateau de Parnay
1 Rue A Crystal
0033 (0)2 41 38 10 85