Showing posts with label Vienne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vienne. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

French Riverbank Classics. Bordeaux and Chinon

Chateau de Fontenille Bordeaux (AOC) 2015, 13.5%, €21.99 JJ O’Driscoll Cork, Wineonline
Up with the birds in the Abbaye de la Sauve Majeure

Vines have been grown in this area between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers (Entre-deux-mers) since the 13th century. A pilgrimage route, protected by UNESCO (half of France seems to be protected!), ran through here to the nearby Abbaye de la Sauve Majeure whose monks tended the vines for hundreds of years.

Stéphane Defraine bought this property in 1989 and went on to renovate and extend the vineyards. This particular blend is Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20). 

The weather in 2015 was excellent and the grapes ripened fully. The varieties were vinified separately and 50% was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months, one third of which were new. The other 50% aged in vats. The wine was then blended and bottled.

It is a darkish ruby, indicative of youth. Fairly intense aromas of dark fruit (plum, berries). Intense flavours too, background of smoky spice, tannins just about noticeable and a good dry finish. Elegant and round, with an approachable modern Bordeaux style, it keeps you engaged all the way through and is Highly Recommended.

Coudray-Montpensier Chinon (AC) 2016, 12.5%, €19.99 Bradley’s Cork, JJ O’Driscoll Cork, Wine Online
Chinon, not on the Loire but on the Vienne
This Chinon red is, as they are, 100 per cent Cabernet Franc. Colour is a light to mid ruby, vigorous aromas of dark fruits, notes too of vanilla. That fruit, and the freshness typical of the grape, come through on the palate, tannins are round and there are notes too of spice; there’s an excellent robust finish. Highly Recommended.

The wine spent between six and 12 months in oak barrels. Not the best of seasons here, spring frosts and a wet summer saw the wine-makers scramble to make the best of it. Going by this one, Gilles Feray succeeded at Coudray-Montpensier.

Suggested Food Pairings: grilled red meat, turkey; Swiss, cheddar, and gouda cheese.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Riverboat Trip as we Wind Down in Chinon

Day 20

Riverboat Trip as we Wind Down in Chinon
It is our last full day in Chinon. It is also very warm indeed, up and beyond 30 degrees. Just looked at the wall thermometer in our courtyard terrace and it is threatening to go off the scale that peaks at 50C. For these reasons, this is an easy day.
Baubles 'n bangles at Market
Got up a little later than usual before heading for the market. Made a bee line to the Asian speciality stall and joined the queue. Enjoyed the chit chat with Madame as we stocked up for lunch and evening. Also had a good look around and bought one or two presents.
Busy fruit stall. The grapes,
for eating, are Italian.
Got back around noon and headed straight for the pool. Cooled down and as we walked back to our gite we picked a few plums from the numerous trees in the garden. Did I tell you we have been living in a cave for the past three weeks? And I don’t mean a wine cellar.
Our suntrap! A "foot" of the cave
may be seen on the right (with flowers)
Les Cathelinettes is built on three levels.   The first building is the main one where the hosts, Sylvie and Roger, live and where they also have two B & Bs. Next level up is where we are, a 2/3 person gite built into the hill and an existing cave and termed Troglodyte. These kind of buildings are very common around here and also in the Dordogne. Another gite, a slight bigger one, is built above us.

By the way, you’d never know you’re living in a cave. It looks like an ordinary house but has the advantage of staying nice and cool in this very hot weather. All holiday makers here, and there could be up to a dozen at times, share the pool. In practice though, we’ve always had it to ourselves, often having to take the cover off. It has been fantastic facility the way the weather has turned out.
Chinon and its fortress from our river-boat today.
Chinon too – we can walk to the centre in 20 minutes – is a lovely and sometimes lively town, lots to see and do here and it is also well placed for touring to the east and west as there is a terrific road network.

We used the bigger roads, including autoroutes, to get to places like Vouvray, Amboise and Chenonceau and smaller ones most of the time. They take you through the fields. The landscape, aside from a few hills, is mostly level and quite often the roads are straight. 
A little riverside beach.
We enjoyed some lovely drives with the fields alongside. Crops of Corn on the Cob, Vines (of course) and Sunflowers are the main ones at this time of year. The sunflowers may be a disappointment to some of you. Now, in September, they look delicate, like faded golden paper dolls, all bowing to the inevitable and awaiting the grim reaper, the yellow of their vibrant youth long gone.

Roused ourselves in mid-afternoon and headed down to the tour boat dock. It turned out to be third time lucky. And, with a nice little (very little) breeze on the water, our mini-cruise on the flat-bottomed boat up and down the Vienne was delightful. Some nice views, especially those of the Fortress.