6 Unique Gites in the Heart of the Loire

 
 
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The Loire region is the third most productive wine growing area of France with 68 appellations, and is famous for its very drinkable soft fruity wines and sparking wines to rival Champagne (but leaving lesser hole in your wallet). La Roultiere is placed centrally in this region so you can explore the diversity of the different growing areas: Touraine, Anjou, Saumur Champigny, Layon, Chinon, Vouvray, Muscadet, St Nicholas de Bourgueil, to name but a few. Below is a suggested itinery without naming any particular caves de degustation (there are so many from big companies to tiny organic growers) to fill up the boot of your car.

SUNDAY : SAUMUR and St HILAIRE St FLORENT: the big sparkling wine producers are in this area and are open for tours on Sunday, from Ackermann to Bouvet-Ladubay in St Hilaire, to Louis de Grenelle in the centre of Saumur. The gentil town of Saumur with an amazing view from the chateau is a lovely place to wonder with a multitude of places to eat at street cafes and resturants.

MONDAY: VOUVRAY and AMBOISE: the white wines of the Touraine region, great with seafood and lacking in acidity, although the taste is very dependant on the "terroir" or heaviness of the soil. Whilst over this way take time to vist Amboise and the gorgeous chateau of Chenoceau.

TUESDAY: BOURGUEIL and St NICHOLAS DE BOURGUEIL; soft reds and surprising rose. Tuesday is market day in the centre of Bourgueil, which is a great place to wonder around and people watch from "Mikey's Bar". There are so many individual producers in this area and it is well worth visitng the Musee des Vins just in between these two towns to get a sense of the history of wine making in the region. The cost of the museum entrance includes wine tasting at the end which allows you to taste the various "terroirs" of the two appellations to give you a sense of the variety of wins, the helpful curator will tell you which wines go best with which foods.

WEDNESDAY: ANJOU: To find the perfect summer rose head out the Anjou. A good place to explore from is Brissac Quince, just south east of Angers. The chateau there offers wine tasting in its own caves, and the chateau and gardens too are worth spending time at..

THURSDAY: CHINON, a medieval town on the banks of the VIENNE river, home of Rabelais and connections with Joan of Arc, is a lovely place to visit. The wines from the AOC are produced from the cabenet franc grape and offer a full bodied wine.

FRIDAY: For a sweet ending to your holiday head to the LAYON region around Doue La Fountaine; here the chemin grape produce a sweet dessert wine.