Tasting glasses at the ready
Another busy week at Le Clos des Guyons progressing with lots of spring cleaning and painting. However, despite these chores, we find life is really never dull around here!
Last Saturday morning, saw a blue sky and 19 degrees midday sunshine in Thouars, when we visited the 66th Salon de Vins in the Orangerie at the Chateau des Ducs de la Tremoille with104 viticulteurs from various regions and 50 appellations. We went along with our friends, Robert and Jeanette Guyons, en route to a family birthday party in Louzy where these family events are reknown for being very long but very entertaining, so we were looking forward to it!
On arrival, the entrance to the Salon had been decorated lovingly with lots of plants and foliage and wine barrels! We had been invited by Frank Bimont to visit the Stand at DOMAINE DES GUYONS from Le Puy Notre Dame which naturally we all had an interest in, especially Robert being it was his family Domaine!
In the picture below :- Brian, Frank Bimont (current winemaker Domaine des Guyons), Sheila, Robert Guyons (retired winemaker of Domaine des Guyons), wife Jeanette, and a rare picture of us altogether at that, a reminder of the vineyards history and many years of hard work by retired vigneron Robert and the current winemaker Franck Bimont (and ourselves who bought the property when Robert retired and have continued to enjoy everything about it including the maison, wine chai and history in rue du Moulin, Le Puy Notre Dame)
Ourselves with Robert et Jeanette Guyon and Franck Bimont. The old and the new winemakers at the Domaine des Guyons
We first tasted the Saumur Blanc ‘Vent du Nord’ from the vineyards in rue du Moulin and ‘L’Ardile’,a lovely golden coloured wine – on the nose violets and smoke with a note of toast; this a powerful and substantial wine. Then followed a Saumur Rouge ‘Odyssée de Franck Bimot’ 2009, a deep garnet coloured red with intense notes of red and black fruits which evolved in the mouth to a long rich finish a good bottle and lastly we were treated to a glass of Coteaux de Saumur ‘Cuvée des Dame’ 2003, a luscious honeyed wine with a nose of fruit desserts, rich and unctuous – perfect for aperitifs or with chocolate. Our wine tour guests at Le Clos des Guyons can vouch for these wines which they have tasted during their stay. There is an opportunity if you are coming to France wine tasting this year, either staying with us in our holiday accommodation or visiting the Loire region, to join in with us on one of our wine tours and tastings. See our website http://www.closdesguyons.com for details.
We couldn”t get around all the exhibitors, there were so many interesting regional wines but we did our best with more tastings of local Thouarsais wines plus Saumur, Anjou Village, Saumur Champigny, Chinon, Bourgueil, St Nicholas de Bourgueil.
We sampled the Souzay Champigny from Domaine des Cordeleiers, always a warm welcome from Madamme Ratron but by now it was running into lunchtime and we had to leave but not before one last tasting which was a local aperitif called ‘Duhomard’ and there is a story to this which apparently all actually started as a joke.
Sardines from St. Gilles Croix de Vie in Brittany. One of the simplest and tastiest of fish dishes BBQ, salt, lemon – done!
Back in 1921 Emile Diacre, a broker in wine and spirits, was taking part in a fishing contest in the Argenton river in the Deux-Sèvres. Feeling a tug on his line, he pulled it out of the water and much to his surprise discovered… a lobster! His friends weren’t shocked, however, as they explained that they had played a practical joke on Monsieur Diacre, placing the poor crustacean just where he would hook it! In the end, though, it was Emile who had the last laugh – four years later he invented an apéritif which he called Duhomard in honour of his lobster catch. It is still going strong today, and proudly recognised as an original product of the Thouarsais region. There is even a brotherhood to protect the drink, called the Confrérie du Duhomard! It’s a mix of alcohol and quinquina bark, gentian roots and soft and bitter orange peel. The fruit is macerated in alcohol for quite some time, and the resulting drink is both bitter and sweet. It comes in a red, white and cherry, the white being sweeter than the red with the cherry having more of a tang. It is mostly drunk neat with ice or with a slice of orange, lemon or lime or is used in cocktails. A nice one to try!
As we wandered through the Salon des Terroirs to the exit, it was amazing to see so many different foods ranging from tantalizing cheeses, fois gras, bread of all shapes and sizes, baskets and baskets of oysters from various regions, sardines from the ville de St Gilles Croix de Vie, charcuteries from Corsica and jams and chutneys made from secret recipes by Les Delices de Flo (The Delights of Flo) in the village of Le Puy Notre Dame! Before leaving we bought some oysters and sardines from St Gilles Croix de Vie and unusual charcuteries from Corsica in particular a very long black sausisson which looked rather like a huge vanilla pod, I think it’s call Figatellu and apparently it is made from the famous black pigs of Corsica which live in a semi wild state stuffing themselves full of acorns, walnuts and the various herbs from the Maquis.
A superb display of Oysters from Brittany. We bought some of the largest. Sadly I can’t eat them because of an allergy but Brian reckoned they were amongst the meatiest and sweetest he has ever tasted.
The visit had been superb not to mention taking advantage of that sunshine too. We found the welcome and conviviality from all the exhibitors heartwarming and they showed a passion and love of their region which was a joy to see. It is one of our favourite wine fairs and already diaried for another visit next year!
So, onto the village of Louzy where Sandra and Jacques were celebrating their Anniversaire de Marriage and Sandra’s 75th Anniversaire!
We had a bonne fete starting at midday and finishing late into the night eating many many plates of food and drinking copious glasses of aperitifs, wines, eau du vies not to mention flutes of sparkling wines and chinking of glasses for the endless toasts in between accompanied by singing traditional songs to Sandra and Jacques at the head of the table! Sandra’s friend, Giselle, shared the same birthday too, so we had to toast and sing everything twice!!! Mais, c’est la France!
What a day, as I said it’s never dull!
On that note we wish all our guests, family and friends a happy holiday weekend.
L’Anniversaire de Jacques et Sandra in the salle de fête at Louzy
Bonnes Pacques et Bon Appetit!
Sheila and Brian
gites and loire wine tasting holidays