From the underground: Death Cap and Sparkling Wines
A misty morning led to us going
underground for this Sunday afternoon. The Death Cap was one of countless
mushrooms seen in the underground Musée du Champignons in St Hilaire-St
Florent, just outside Saumur, but the first call was to the premises of BouvetLadubay well known around the world for their quality
|Disgorgement machines, the more modern ones!|
The visit began with a tour of the underground
cellars- it seems virtually every winery hereabouts has conveniently cool
cellars adapted from former tuffeau quarries. Temperatures are about 12
degrees, all the time, ideal for wine and mushrooms.
The méthode traditionnelle is used here
and we were given examples of the old way of the famous “disgorgement”
and the more modern mechanical time-saving method.
|The tasting line-up|
The cellars, in under a local hill,
are extensive and impressive and we had glimpses of the lives of the quarry
workers and saw how the caverns have been adapted to the wine makers’ use. Bouvet
Ladubay, with 460 awards for their wines in the last forty years, is a big name
in the world of sparkling wines.
|Death Cap (in a glass case!)|
We were looking forward to our tasting
which was carried out above ground. We had four to taste in all, including an unusual
red sparkler, and our favourite was the Decanter bronze medal winner Saphir
Brut 2011, fruity and fresh with a nice acidity. A few bottles are on their way
back to Ireland, maybe! Might have to return to Saumur for more.
|Horse's Mane or Pom Pom growing|
A few miles up the road, we came to
the fascinating Mushroom Museum. Not just a museum as the underground caves are
used to grown many varieties, including some that, thanks to Ballyhoura
Mushrooms, we are familiar with.
|Pink Oysters growing. Get them from Ballyhoura Mushrooms at Farmers Markets|
Enjoyed strolling through the various
mushroom beds and reading the info. There is also a massive museum section
there with information and representations, in 3B and photograph, of virtually
every mushroom in the world.
|More oysters growing, just a different colour|
By the way, the sun did come out after
lunch and it turned into quite a pleasant afternoon and evening, the only big cloud
in the sky on our drive home from Saumur coming from the towers of the local nuclear