Dana and James from North Dakota in the vineyards of Le Puy Notre Dame
We welcomed Dana and James from North Dakota USA last week and thought they were here to just explore the delights of the Loire Valley and visit local vineyards of Le Puy Notre Dame! But little did we know their big secret until late into the week…….!!
After their first day spent visiting local highlights, including the chateau of Saumur and towns alongside the Loire, on Monday morning they started a ‘Wine Tour and Tasting’ with Brian showing them around the local Le Puy vineyards, explaining en route how the grapes were harvested and the processes involved (the vendage was well on the way so everywhere was busy with vendagers and tractors full of grapes). The tour included visiting all the best views in town by the way, we have lots of these! We took a break for lunch at the busy little village restaurant, ‘Le Bouchon Ponot’, enjoying a special midday Plat du Jour with a few glasses of wonderful AOC Vin Blanc from the village of course! After our pause, we headed off to the Domaine de la Paleine to introduce them to a diverse range of exquisite wines.
For a perfect ending to a perfect day we enjoyed an evening meal ‘chez nous’ and it was only then that Dana and James suddenly let out their secret and told us that they were in fact in France on their ‘Honeymoon’! We couldn’t believe that they had kept their secret so long ….. but as congratulations were definitely in order, we opened another bottle of sparkling Saumur Brut to celebrate this wonderful occasion in their life! Just a special moment and it was lovely!
Here’s the message they left in our Visitors Book before leaving for Paris!
Brian and Sheila,
“Thank you very much for your generous hospitality. We have so enjoyed the last week of our ‘Honeymoon’ in France in Le Puy Notre Dame! Your Wine Tour and Tasting and evening meal were exceptional and a highlight of our trip. We learned so much about the lovely region and wines of the Loire Valley along with the importance of food in the French Culture.
Again, thank you both so much”! Dana and Jim (North Dakota, USA)
They emailed us to say they had finally arrived home safe and sound …….. but to snow (that’s North Dakota for you as now is the start of their long winter) and they were missing our Loire climate!
Sheila and Brian
www.closdesguyons.com offering self-catering holiday accommodation and wine tour/tastings in the village of Le Puy Notre Dame, a Petit Cité de Caractére in France’s beautiful Loire Valley.
The members of the “Confréries Viticole Saumurois”, lead the procession from the Chateau.
We took a break to go to the annual grape harvest in Saumur attended by lots of people, particularly families, for the start of the 2013 Vendage at the Château de Saumur. It’s quite unbelievable that after all these years of living here we have never visited this fete before!! In a medieval ambiance it started with the procession of Confréries Viticole Saumurois dressed in their colourful robes and decorative hats. Trumpets played as they started to march from the Chateau, over the wooden bridge across into the fields of vines and everyone joined in behind the procession.
Secateurs were handed out and then everyone went into the vines and snipped away merrily.
When we reached the vines, the Master of Ceremony climbed onto the waiting horse drawn cart loaded with three large wooden barrels to carry the grapes to the winery, and announced the start of the 2013 Vendage ! There was a big cheer and then we were off!!! Great!
Everyone scuttled about, grabbed the buckets and then started to walk up and down the rows slowly cutting grapes It was fun and lovely to see the little children running about taking the grapes which their parents had picked and taking them up to waiting cart. I asked Brian if he wanted to join in. He grumbled that he’d done enough of that to last a lifetime, thank you very much.
When the barrels were heaving with grapes, the horse pulled the cart away and the procession of Confréries Viticole started walking back to the Chateau, but this time they were merrily singing!
In the Chateau courtyard, the grapes were unloaded from the cart and tipped into the pressoir. After some time, the juice finally started to flow and we were then all offered a taste of juice. This was the moment we had waited for all morning … ‘THE GRANDE TASTING’. The juice was beautifully sweet – nice to think we were now enjoying the fruits of our labour! Just brilliant!
A votré Sheila
Holiday Accommodation in the Loire Loire Valley Wine Tours
Sheila and Brian
Brian does this most years although he has now taken to making excuses and hiding himself away in obscure bars in early September to avoid being asked!
The egrappoir is a thing which removes the grapes from the stalks when they are cut by hand. Now, of course, they are state of the art, gleaming machines. This is the version that people used for 100’s of years before that.
Back to the Chateau
The First Pressing
The first grape juice of 2013
Couldn’t help but notice how close the images were to this famous medieval parchment “Les trés riches heures du Duc de Berry” with Saumur Chateau in the background