Saturday 22 June 2013

Supporting Vouvray Wines

Very early on the morning of Monday 17 June a brief but devastating hailstorm ripped through the wine appellation of Vouvray. Here at Loire Valley Time Travel we often take clients to this area because we believe the wines are high quality and exceptionally good value.

We've been impressed that despite the damage, which has lead to some wineries losing 80% of their crop, the 180 winemakers that operate in the area are working together to mitigate the effects. Some of the worst affected will lose whole parcels of vines that have been shredded and bruised by hailstones as big as hen's eggs. The continuing warm and wet weather will mean that extreme vigilance on the part of the vine masters will be necessary if a major outbreak of fungal diseases is to be avoided.

A Vouvray vineyard before the storm.
We will continue to support the Vouvray winemakers and we hope that our clients will too. We already know that the quantity of Vouvray wine from the 2013 vintage will be much reduced, but the winemakers are only briefly daunted. Their naturally optimistic outlook doesn't stay suppressed for very long and they are already musing on the possibility that the quality could still be exceptional. If you would like to visit a fine winery in a unique location, email us and we will arrange for you to meet the characterful winemakers who continue to make wonderful wine no matter what the weather throws at them.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Always something new

Even if you've visited the chateaux of the Loire before, you will find something new and interesting on subsequent visits. Partly this is because they are big sites, full of detail that you don't always see first time round, but it is also because the curators, gardeners and families who run them are keen to improve them as visitor attractions all the time.

 Newly restored bedroom at Azay le Rideau.
New gardens are created, rooms refurbished and research reveals new facts or new interpretations, so the chateaux don't become stale.

If you've seen the chateaux before but would like to see what's new, email us and we will design a tour for you to show how differently they can be presented.

Sunday 2 June 2013

Winemaking in Action

It's every available person to the vineyard and winery during the harvest. The winery suddenly becomes a maze of pipes and machinery as everyone strives to process the grapes as quickly as possible to ensure the highest quality wine. The quicker the grapes can be pressed and the juice filtered, the less chance there is for bad flavours to develop and taint the wine.

The teenage son of the winemaker transfers freshly pressed and filtered juice into a vat.

We visit small family run wineries, and all the family helps out -- picking, tractor driving, sorting, cleaning and monitoring equipment, making sure everything is running smoothly. When they are not in school, even the children are there, getting their grounding in the family business.

If you would like the chance to see a working winery up close, email us and ask us to design a tour for you in September or October. The harvest time varies slightly each year depending on the weather, but even at quieter times there is always something going on in the vineyard.