I’m back from a two week stint cycling along the Loire. We started out at St Etienne with some Cotes du Rhone, working our way through some run of the mill local wines before reaching the fairy tale castle of Pouilly-sur-Loire, and Pouilly Fume, and cycling upwards into Sancerre. Never let anyone tell you that the path along the Loire is flat.
We carried on through Coteaux du Giennois country through Briare and Gien in the driving rain. Orleans followed, before the fabulous Chateau at Chambord and the Cheverny to go with it. Into Touraine, through Montlouis and Vouvray before visiting St Martin of Tours and enjoying a spot of Chinon.
There’ll certainly be no lack of rain in this vintage, it was relentless, something you tend to notice on a bike.
We stuck to buying wines en pichet (or carafe) from the neighbourhood we were in, after all I can buy good bottles here at home, but can’t experience the feeling. Sancerre was probably the best wine we tried, and at E12 for 50cl, by far the most expensive, but it was in a fancy, touristy, restaurant. The Chinon was a delightful surprise, and Vouvray the best deal by quite a margin – fabulous stuff at E7. The VDQS from Orleans was perhaps the worst glass I encountered, but as it came free with my meal I could hardly complain.
Unfortunately the panniers on my bike weren’t up to bringing much home, but I have a stock of Loire valley wines I’ll no doubt be working my way through much more enthusiastically now that I can visualise the terroir, and of course the terror of cyclists bum rash.