Sauternes - the golden sweet wine. It comes from the Sauternes region in the Graves district of Bordeaux. These are not late harvest wines. Rather, the grapes must develop botrytis, or noble rot. The humidity caused by the cold Le Ciron River that feeds into the Garonne results in a fog that descends upon the vineyards through the night. The warm sun during the day will then dry the grapes. The fungus that develops on the grapes results in a grape that becomes partially raisin-ed with concentrated flavors.
One of the most famous (and most expensive) Sauternes is Chateau Y'quem.
Our driver drove us up the road to Y'quem but fooled us and turned back around to take us to two other historic Sauternes producers who are worth knowing about......as well as more affordable.
We hear stories of biodynamic producers planting cow horns and running naked through the vineyards. But, biodynamics are based on the spiritual/practical philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. It is a controversial topic among winemakers. Many are skeptical about the practice while others embrace it.
One of the most well-known biodynamic winemakers from the Loire Valley in France is Nicolas Joly of Vignoble de la Coulée de Serrant. He is known as the father of biodynamic wine making and as a passionate environmentalist, at 69 years of age, Joly travels, writes and speaks about his beliefs.
While on a press trip to the Loire Valley, we were scheduled to visit Coulée de Serrant and to our great surprise, Nicolas Joly was there to greet us when we arrived. We spent the next three hours walking through the vineyards, tasting his wines and listening to him wax poetic about his grapes.
As a wine lover, visiting wine regions around the world is a great way to see many places and experience cultures. One of the spots on my list that I can check off is the Loire Valley in France.
Located in Central France, along the Loire River, the Loire Valley is also known as the "Cradle of the French" and the "Garden of France."From Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume on one end to the Muscadet region on the Atlantic coast, the region produces predominantly white wine from theChenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc and Melon de Bourgogne grapes. It is also the second largest sparkling wine producer in France, after Champagne. Loire Valley wines are known for their fruitiness and fresh, crisp flavors.
Here's a recap of one day as we traveled east from Angers to Nantes.