Friday, 3 April 2015

L'Auberge des Iles - Montreuil Bellay - Team Vigneron

Many of you that have stayed at La Grande Maison in the past will be familiar with the wonderful cuisine of David Beaufreton the chef at Le Puy A Vins and will have undoubtedly enjoyed the wines of Guillaume & Adrien of Chateau de Fosse Seche and Aymeric Hillaire of Domaine Melaric. Well now the team have come together along with Romain Amblard of Le Puy A Vins to bring you a new restaurant in Montreuil Bellay - L'Auberge des Iles. Only 10 minutes from La Grande Maison.

The terrace is on the banks of the River Thouet in a stunning location at the foot of the magnificent Chateau of Montreuil Bellay. "Cuisine à l'ancienne" and a large wine list not only featuring many local Loire organic wines but also some very fine wines from other regions of France along with a few surprises from Spain, Germany and Swtizerland.

I'm sure it is going to become a winemakers hang out too. We popped in this luch time, after the inaugaration last night it was hard not to return to try the food and enjoyed a glass of sparkling at the bar with Matthieu Vallée of Chateau Yvonne.
Food is simple but fresh and delicious with a series of 'formules' to suit any pocket. Enjoy "Le plat du jour" from only 12 euros. Needless to say there are wines by the glass and very good prices too if you want to sample some of the different producers. 
Bravo Romain, David, Aymeric, Guillaume and Adrien wishing you all the best for your first season in Montreuil Bellay. We will be back and recommending to our guests at La Grande Maison too!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

5 French Wine Production Styles at a Glance - Understanding the Logos

Confused with all the logos you find on French wine bottles? 
Not sure what type of French wine you are drinking? 
Here is a quick guide to exactly what is going on in the vineyards and 
therefore in the bottle. 

1. Organic - "Les Purs Biologiques"
Winegrowers that don't use either pesticides or herbicides. 
They only have a access to elements made available by nature e.g. Copper 
and Sulphur and the only treatments allowed are those that are washed 
away by the rain and do not penetrate into the plant. 
Wines are allowed to show the logo AB Agriculture Biologique.
AB Agriculture Biologique
2. Biodynamic - "Les Biodynamisyes"
These wine producers are considered the most radical fringe group of the 
organic producers. They refuse to use pesticides and weed killers.
They follow the norms of the organic producers imposed by the label AB 
Agriculture Biologique but also want to revert to typical soils of
animal material and plant matter.
There are two main labels indicating Biodynamic Wine those of Demeter 
and Biodyvin.
3. Natural Wines - Les Natures
This group of producers are different to the pure organic and biodynamic 
producers and are hostile to anything added to the wine during the process 
of the wine making. They are strongly opposed to the use of sulphur in the 
winery. Sulphites are reputed to act as anti-bacterial and are there good for 
conservation of wine. For the Naturalist the taste of the pure grape is all 
that is important. Nothing added and nothing taken away. Currently no label 
for "Natural Wines" but there is an Association des Vins Naturels.
Association des Vins Naturels AVN
4. Reasonable Culture - Les Raisonnés
Durable viticulture with the objective to limit the number of chemical 
treatments, reduce the amount of pesticides and weed killers and other...
...both in the vineyard and the winery. Some of these producers move to 
organic production as a next step.
Les Raisonnés - Reasonable Culture
5. The Conventionals - Les Conventionnels 
Or as I have often heard other producers describe them "Les Chimiques" 
(The Chemicals) 
75% of winegrowers in France are still conventional. They treat their vines 
with chemicals, pesticides and weed killers.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Loire Wine Salons 2015

The big week has nearly arrived and it's time to descend on the various Wine Salons held in the Anjou region of the Loire. Gone are the days of visiting one major salon (Salon des Vins de Loire) as 'Offs' or off-shoot salons have grown year by year. This year we have the challenge of visiting all SIX - yes six different shows within the space of 3 days (although the elapsed time is over 5 days). So here is the unofficial list of what is going on, when and where. Salons are reserved for professionals in the wine trade and usually by invitation although some allow a supplementary entrance to be paid on the door in return for a glass and an extraordinary range of tastings.

Starting on Saturday is the Renaissance des Appellations 2015 at Greniers Saint Jean - Angers Saturday 31st January and Sunday 1st February 9h30-19h. One of our favourite salons for the quality of wines represented and showing organic and biodynamic wines with a great selection from the Loire Valley. Including :


- Didier Chaffardon
– Christophe Daviau
– Yves et Anne Guégniard
– Clément Baraut
– Toby Bainbridge
– Eddy Oosterlinck
– Benoit Blet
– Didier Hauret
– Olivier Lecomte
– Patrick Baudouin
– Xavier Cailleau
– Damien et Didier Richou
– Stéphane Rocher
– Th. Ducleux, JM Brousset et J. Delrieu
– Jean-François Vaillant
– Thomas Carsin
– Jo Pithon
– Nathalie et Vincent Betis
– Thierry Michon
– Joseph Landron
– Frédéric Niger Van Herck et Guy Bossard
– Sébastien Riffault
– Philippe Gilbert
– Michel Gendrier
– Michel Quenioux
– Laura Semeria
– Bruno Allion
– Louis-Jean Sylvos
– Olivier Bellanger
– Paul Gillet
– François Plouzeau
– François Chidaine
– Vincent Carème
– Hélène Fillette
– Eric Nicolas
– Philippe Delesvaux
– Maï et Kenji Hodgson
– Stéphanie et Vincent Deboutbertin
– Joël Ménard
– Thomas Batardière
– Liv Vincendeau
– Bruno Rochard
– Richard Leroy
– Rémi Bonnet
– Bernard et Benoit Landron
– Jacques Carroget
– Tessa Laroche
– Loïc Mahé
– Virginie Joly
– Yannick Amirault
– Sébastien David
– Pascal Lambert
– Etienne de Bonnaventure
– Bernard Baudry
– Guillaume Pire
– Guillaume Reynouard
– Jean-François Regnier
– Jean-Noël Million
– Mathieu Vallée
– Anne-Claude Leflaive
– Xavier Caillard
– Aymeric Hilaire
– Philippe Gourdon
– Mark Angeli

Also on the Saturday and Sunday 31st Jan - 1st February 10h - 18h is an off-shoot from Les Salons des Amis - Les Pénitentes @ Hotel de Penitents Angers. Bonhomme, Chaussard, Mosse, Puzelat and Villemade have invited a range of producers listed below with empasis on organic and natural wines.

In it's third year now but this time a new location on Sunday 1st February at the Salon Curnonsky, rue st martin, 49700 Angers (in front of the old location of the collegiale saint Martin) from 10h00 - 19h00  is the Vins Anonymes 2015. The idea of this salon is to allow a collective of young and perhaps relatively unknown vignerons show their wines that are either alternative, close to natural and authentic. Some of the vignerons represented include our neighbour Jacky RIPOCHE of LES NOADES SAUMUR along with – LA COULEE D’Ambrosia johana et jf Chene ANJOU – LAMBERT Jérôme ANJOU – CAVE BECLAIR ANJOU – GARREAU cédric ANJOU – SAURIGNY jérôme ANJOU – BOUTIN Thomas ANJOU – LES VIGNES DE BABASS ANJOU – BOREL Pierre BOURGUEIL – DOMAINE DU MORTIER maison Boisard BOURGUEIL - – COURANT XAVIER BOURGUEIL – COURTAULT Joel TOURAINE – LA LUNOTTE Foucher TOURAINE

Let's not forget another of our favourite events of the year the Dive Bouteille this time on the 1-2  February Sunday and Monday in the sous terrain setting of the caves of Ackerman. Organised by Sylvie Augereau this salon features natural wines from all over France, but also some wines from Italy and producers from the USA. This is the 15th Dive and we are sure it is going to be a popular as ever with a diverse and electic range of natural wines.


Many of the Loire regulars including

 – Marion Pescheux et Manuel Landron, Complémen’terre (Muscadet)
– Jérôme Bretaudeau, Bellevue (Muscadet)
– Marc Pesnot, la Sénéchalière (Muscadet)
– J Bresteau et M Houtin, Grange aux Belles (Anjou)
– Philippe Delmée (Anjou)
– Geneviève et Nicolas Bertin-Delatte,Echalier (Anjou)
– Clément Baraut (Anjou-Savennières)
– Sylvain Martinez (Anjou)
– François Saint-Lô (Anjou)
– Stéphane Erissé (Anjou)
– Nicolas Reau (Anjou)
– Eric Dubois, Clos Cristal (S-Champigny)
– Antoine Sanzay (S-Champigny)
– Bruno Dubois (S-Champigny)
– Matthieu Bouchet, Gaillard (Saumur)
– Thierry Germain, Roches Neuves (S-Champigny)
– Sylvain Dittière, Porte Saint-Jean (S-Champigny)
– Caroline et Antoine Foucault, le Collier (Saumur)
– Arnaud Lambert, Brézé (Saumur)
– Emeline et Sébastien Bobinet (S-Champigny)
– Romain Guiberteau (Saumur)
– Patrick Corbineau (Touraine-Chinon)
– Fred Sigonneau, de l’R (Chinon)
– Jérôme Lenoir, cave des Roches (Chinon)
– François Blanchard, le Grand Cléré (Touraine)
– Gérard Marula (Touraine-Chinon)
– Lise et Bertrand Jousset (Montlouis)
– Sébastien Brunet (Vouvray)
– Mathieu Cosme, Beaumont (Vouvray)
– C. et D. Delecheneau, Grange Tiphaine (Mtlouis)
– Grégory Leclerc, Chahut et Prodiges (Touraine)
– Noella Morantin (Touraine)
– Laurent Saillard (Touraine)
– Brendan Tracey (Touraine)
– Olivier Lemasson, les Vins Contés (Touraine)

New for the 2nd February Dans Nos Pas 12h-21h chez La Gastonomie featuring from the Loire Chateau de Fosse Seche and Ferme de Caudalies (5 mins from Parc des Expo)

Returning again this year is another newish salon La Levée de la Loire scheduled for Monday 2/3/4th February 2015 this time at the Parc des Expositions d’Angers  from 9h - 19h. This is the Association interprofessional of the Organic Wines of the Loire (Vin Bio de Loire) organised in partnership with the Renaissance, the Dive and le Salon du Logis du Gouverneur.


Represented from the Loire we have -

– AMIRAULT Xavier, Thierry et Agnès
– BILLARD Jérôme
– BOISARD Fabien et Cyril
– BOURSE Quentin
– BRETON Pierre
– CAREME Vincent
– CASLOT Claudia, Franck et Bertrand
– CASLOT Stéphanie et Emmanuel
– CHANSON Ludovic
– COURANT Xavier
– DAVID Sébastien- DANSAULT Gabrièle et Régis
– DESCHAMPS Sandrine et Christophe
– DE BONNAVENTURE Pascale et Etienne
– GALBRUN Bertrand- GASNIER Fabrice
– GAUTHIER Pierre et Rodolphe
– GENDROT Fabrice
– GERARD Philippe et DETECHEVERRY Arnaud
– GROSBOIS Nicolas
– GUION Stéphane
– HERLIN Laurent
– JOURDAN Francis
– KLOECKE Jean-Daniel
– LAMBERT Pascal et Béatrice
– LAMBERT Patrick
– LANDRY Thierry
– MABILEAU Frédéric
– MANCEAU Jean-Max
– MERIAS Benoît
– MUREAU Stéphane
– PELLETIER Jean-Christophe
– PICHET Thomas
– PINON François
– ROUSSE Wilfrid
– SIGONNEAU Frédéric
– SPELTY Johann
– SYLVOS Louis-Jean
– VALLEE Gérald
– VALLEE Gérald

Last but never least the BIG one that starts on 2nd February and runs for 3 days to the 4th February inclusive the Salon des Vins de Loire at the Parc des Expositions in Angers from 9h - 19h each day except Wednesday to 18h as everyone will want to go home as let's face it they will be exhausted by this time! It is here that the Medal Winners (Palais de Ligers) are announced along with the winners of the blog trophy, the best student sommelier and many other master classes on terroir and chenin.

Within the Salon des Vins de Loire is also the Salons des Vins de Loire Stand Collectif Vins Bio a stand for the collective of organic producers.

So you see the wine world is going to be a buzz in this area of the Loire Valley over the next week. The logistics of getting from one show to the other are going to be fun but at the least the weather is on our side at the moment but we know how precocious February can be in the region - so fingers crossed !

Previous years we had heavy snow - this years forecast is looking ok!!  
Dive Bouteille - Nul n'est censé ignorer la Loire 
© Sylvie Augereau