Vines, Wines and Yet More Food!
We started the afternoon of the second day of our Press Trip in the Loire with a great lunch at La Croisette overlooking the river. The food here was not as spectacular as some of our other meals but it was a delight to sample the local pike in beurre blanc and rilletes of fish rather than meat. And, for a relaxed lunch it was a lovely peaceful setting.
Then on to another vineyard, Domaine de Bablut which looks like a sleepy little farm. But, as early as 1546, the Daviau family owned windmills and a vineyard in the hills of the Aubance.
Today they produce a wide range of organic wines including Anjou Villages Brissac, Coteaux de l’Aubance, sparkling roses, petra alba and roca nigra named for the terroir on which the vines are cultivated. For me the charm of this vineyard was partly in the history. The Domaine means ‘two mills’ in French and until the 19th century the Daviau family were millers as well as wine makers. Today, the old mill houses some of the wine making equipment and caves together with a tasting room.
After our meeting and wine tasting with Christophe Daviau we went on to Chateau de Brissac, a stunning historic chateau, still home to the Marquis Charles Andre de Brissac, his wife and children, but open to the public for tours.
In fact, although at first glance everything looks perfect, the façade is half finished and has been that way since the death of Charles II de Cosse, who started some modernisation of the building, in principle to create a perfect symmetry. In the words of the guide ‘a new castle partially built in an old castle partially destroyed’. Well, to be honest it still looks pretty splendid!
Inside, the rooms are grand and exactly what you imagine a French Chateau should be like. If you want a little self-indulgence, then you can stay in one of the four guest rooms in a splendid four poster bed. Apparently the Chateau books a number of visitors each year.
My personal favourite was the dining hall with minstrel’s gallery, resplendent with the hunting trophies of one of the previous inhabitants, Anne de Moremart, who also was the first woman in France to get her driving licence…and then the first to be fined for speeding. Her portrait is in the gallery along with a large portrait of the world famous Veuve Clicquot!
The chateau caves house a tasting room and stocks of wines produced on the estate.
Our final trip the following day was to Domain de la Tuffiere. Another family venture, but with quite a recent heritage, although the vineyards have been there since the fourteenth century, it wasn’t until 1972 when Daniele and Jean-Claude Coignard took running the estate, eventually becoming the owners in 1989. Now it’s run by their son and daughter and their respective partners.
We were treated to a variety of the wines and a picnic of local produce including some fabulous cold meats, cheeses and cherries! And then back to the airport