Tag Archives: La Grande Maison

Loire Valley Gallery

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The gallery is only a selection of our photos for this blog.  There are more on our Flickr site


Farewell Grande Maison


Click here for a better view of La Grande Maison on Photosynth

All good things come to an end, unfortunately. Micaela & Sue have given us great insight into #Loire wines and have been wonderful hosts. Tastings at nine chateau over the three days produced a vast shopping list. We could easily stay another three days! Thank you ladies!

Micaela drove us back to Saumur where we caught the 1222 local train to near Tours, and then the TGV to Paris.  We checked in around 3.45pm at the New Hotel Roblin where we have stayed on three earlier occasions.  It is in the Madeleine area and very central.

We wandered the streets for a while and eventually settled on a Bordeaux style wine bar for dinner.

Saumur & Saumur Champigny

Le Puy Notre Dame – Sunday 23 June

A visit to the Saumur & Saumur Champigny regions

DSC06859.JPGSue was our guide for today’s tour, firstly to Langlois Chateau.  Here we had an explanation in French of wine-making as it relates to the production of Cremant de Loire (sparkling Loire style made in the traditional style).  A tour of the caves followed and an extensive sampling of the full range of Langlois wines.

Our route to Langlois Chateau (and later) was difficult due to two bicycle events in Saumur today – see http://www.anjou-velo-vintage.com/?lang=en for information about the vintage event; the other was a ride to celebrate the centenary of the Tour de France.  Road blockages and diversions were everywhere.

DSC06871.JPGAnother picnic was enjoyed, this time in the vineyards of Saumur Champigny.

Domaine Fouet provided a tasting of Sauvignon Blanc from three areas incl. Sancerre, then some Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.  Cuvée Ebene (€18 with 10 years cellaring potential) took us down into the caves.


We called in at Chateau de Breze to view its massive dry moat and a very large Pigeonniere. See more here.

DSC01006.JPGOur final visit was to Chateau de Chaintres for a tasting.  This property has a large walled vineyard producing predominantly Cabernet Franc.

Back to La Grande Maison and it was soon time to go out for dinner – tonight at a rustic French provincial restaurant.

Touraine, Bourgeuil & St Nicolas de Bourgeuil

Le Puy Notre Dame – Saturday 22 June

A visit to the Touraine and Bourgeuil & St Nicolas de Bourgeuil Region

We are now in routine.  Breakfast and out the door by 9.30am back around 5.30pm

Chateau du Petit Thouars

First stop today in the opposite direction to yesterday’s samplings, and the first stop was at Chateau du Petit Thouars.  It seems like a long time ago as I write this but we arrived at the Chateau to notice the impact of the recent heavy rains.  Micaela edged through the gate successfully and our first tasting of the day was underway.  We tasted three basic Cabernet Francs and then a premier vinChateau du Petit Thouarstage, 2009.  The tasting finished with a Cremant sparkling from Cabernet Franc grapes which was added to our collection (and also later consumed).

Afterwards we viewed some history and wandered up the hill above the caves to the pigeonniere and the vines.  We were accompanied by the vineyard dog and his ball.

After yesterday’s experience and with questionable weather again, Micaela opted for lunch in a wine bar in Chinon.  The need to park the car on a busy Saturday gave Joy a little time for shopping before Micaela re-joined us.

Next stop was Fredric Mabielau which was in St Nicolas de Bourgeuil.  This tasting continued with the predominant red, Cabernet Franc.   This vineyard rises from sandy loam up the slopes and this was reflected in the wines we tasted.  The final (red) wine was a 2010 Eclipse situated near the forest line at the top of the rise.  We then tried their Saumur Blanc from Le Puy Notre Dame vineyard.

Domaine des ChevallerieAs if we had not already appreciated the many varieties of Cabernet Franc available, Domaine des Chevallerie showed us their Cabernet Franc collection of 15 wines in their cave.  We were ably led by a lively cellar door lady who Domaine des Chevalleriecapably handled a number of visitor groups very capably.  It was her weekend job; she normally works in the cellar labelling wine etc.

Dinner tonight was at La Grande Maison.  Two couples have left and a new couple joined us today.

Anjou and Savennieres

Le Puy Notre Dame– Friday 21 June

A Visit to the Anjou and Savennieres Regions

DSC00990.JPGWe headed first to Passavant Sur Layon to visit Chateau de Passavant for a tasting of organically produced Anjou white, rosé, and red.  A small family vineyard with amazingly low prices.

DSC06823.JPGThen a picnic in the Layon area by the banks of the river.  A great spread was produced but the highlight was the collapse of the table setting as Les joined Joy on one side of the table!  There has been a lot of rain in the Loire so the table really didn’t collapse, rather the supports sank into the soft earth.

DSC06826.JPGThen on to Domaine de L’Elu to try Anjou Appellation wines from vines around Aubin sur Luigne.   This was another young organic producer with experience in Champagne and Provence.  I think we have mentioned that there are two grape varieties in the Loire – red Cabernet Franc and white Chenin Blanc.  What is amazing is the impact that terroir (growing conditions – soil & climate) has on the wine.  The result is a large variety of examples that make for amazing taste experiences – similar to what we experience in Burgundy.  Here there were also examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Rosé.

Domaine Soucherie was a much larger but still newish producer.  Here we had a tasting of Anjou and Savennieres Appellation wines – and found a desert wine, Chaume 2009 that approached our Dolcé favourite.  Of course we are restricted, but that became a purchase (€25 for 750ml).







At the end of a long but very interesting day, we headed back some distance to La Grande Maison with Les struggling to keep his eyes open.  The weather was overcast, sunny, and then the rain came as we were heading home.

Dinner in Le Puy Notre Dame (10 minutes drive) opposite the huge (relative to its surroundings) church which is the centre of the appellation by that name.

We returned for a drink with our hosts and fellow residents in the vineyard as the sun set on this solstice day.. It was 10.30pm.



A good flight leaving Sydney 1540 but left Singapore late, arriving in London 45 minutes late.  The flight to Paris was also late, and the traffic through Paris to Gare Montparnasse Station was heavy.  Collecting our tickets took awhile due to confusion (which card was used and what was that number); tickets re-purchased with a credit due.

Our passengers opposite was a family – mother from Melbourne, father from London with a sister in Australia and a toddler.  The conversation kept us awake.

We arrived in Saumur at 1721 (some 34 hours after we began our journey!) and the hotel was a short taxi ride away.

After refreshing, we walked to a nearby restaurant Auberge La Reine de Sicile and had a great meal; hopefully we will return there.  As the restaurant filled, Les remarked that people must eat early – it was quite light outside but it was 7.45pm!  Back to the hotel for a well-deserved sleep.

Saumur – Thursday 20 June

Another view across the Loire to the Chateaux

After a slow start, we stored our luggage and walked outside to find a mini-market running.   Fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, smallgoods vendors lining the street.  The hotel is situated on an island, so we walked to the other side and across the Loire River.  Stopped at a café for brunch and continued our walk down and off the main street.  Importantly, next to the local tourist bureau was a wine tasting opportunity that covered the wines of the Loire Valley.  We had an introductory tasting that should prove valuable.

We returned to the hotel about three and not long after we were met by Micaela.  She and Sue run Vine Adventure Wine Tours – website; Facebook.

La Grande Maison.jpgLa Grande Maison is some 30 minutes out of Saumur and near Le Puy Notre Dame.  We arrived, were introduced to Sue and the surroundings, unpacked and then sat down to be introduced to the plans made for us over the next three days.  It all sounds great!

Our first meal, along with three other couples, was a Wine Sampling Supper.  Goats cheese pastries, salmon, cheese and dessert were accompanied by a range of local wines – Chenin Blanc & Cabernet Franc account for most of the production in the area.

The house is actually a series of very old buildings that can accommodate up to 12 that includes a gate house, a pigeonniere, garden seating and three springer spaniels.