67th SALON DES VINS ET TERROIRS (THOUARS)
The Salon des Vins et Terroirs at l’Orangerie du Chateau in Thouars is one of my favorite wine calendar rendezvous. This Wine Fair is a relatively relaxed and friendly event. It has a complete personality of its own unlike for instance the Salon des Vins de Loire held earlier in the year in Angers which is the showcase of the rich Loire Valley terroirs and is for the main players in the world of wine – large scale retail and catering buyers, vintners, importers, operators and journalists. This time I had to go on my own as Brian was leading a wine tasting group here in Le Puy Notre Dame. First created in 1947, the annual Salon des Vins et Terroirs was held on the 28, 29 and 30 March with over 105 viticulteurs representing 50 wine appellations locally and throughout other regions of France. Producers were not only from Nord Deux Sevres, Saumur, Anjou, Touraine, Centre-Loire and the Nantais but from as far away as Alsace, Beaujolais, Gaillac, Provence, the Herault in the South of France and Marcillac Valon in the Aveyron, to name but a few! Marcillac is an up and coming wine appellation for uniquely red wines and is a small department with vines sitting on steep, terraced vineyards along the southern slopes of the rugged hills that surround the Vallon de Marcillac. A lovely area. And so the salon is a great opportunity to walk through the halls with your ‘drop and stop’ glass meeting all the different winemakers, exchanging views whilst sharing a tasting of his wines and discussing his vineyards – a lot can be learned!
I am always happy to say hello to vignerons I know and of course to see Franck Bimont, the vigneron at the Domaine des Guyons who always represents Le Puy Notre Dame at the event. Of course I tasted his Saumur Puy Notre Dame ‘Odyssée’ (characterstic deep garnet coloured red with flavours of red and black fruits evolving in the mouth to a long rich finish), along with his vin blancs ‘Vent du Nord’ (delicate aromas of white fruits, fresh in the mouth, full and elegant) and ‘L’Ardile’ (beautiful golden yellow in colour with a nose of violets, smokey with a note of toast – a powerful, complex, substantial wine with a unique character). His wines are highly recommended. This event is not just about wine though. There is a huge hall devoted to food producers from far and wide, with breads of all sizes and shapes, delicious patisseries, olives, sausage specialities (thin black sanglier sausage from Corsica), loads of patés, foies gras, oysters and mussels from the Vendée and Brittany coasts, jams, cheeses from everywhere including Cantal (which I love), chocolates, nougats, the list goes on! It demonstrates that eating is just as important as drinking! The event is organised by volunteers of the Thouarsais area. An entrance fee of 3 Euros includes a complimentary wine tasting glass and ‘wine pourer’ for the customary “Drop and Stop” degustations.
After a day like this you appreciate more that wine goes hand in hand with pleasure and conviviality which is so much the passion of French culture and one of many reasons why I enjoy ‘Living in the Loire! It has always been my pleasure and will continue to be so for a long time to come!
Bon Salon à tous!
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