I ended up living in France for 8 years in the 1970s and '80s, mostly in Paris. In the late '70s or early '80s, I drove through the Loire Valley at least once, on my way to Noirmoutier, an island off the Atlantic coast of France.
And then in 1989 Walt and I drove through Saint-Aignan to Beaugency, where we had lunch. It was one of our first vacations together in France. We were on our way from Bordeaux back to Paris. Neither one of us remembers Saint-Aignan at all from that trip — we were hurrying to get to Chartres before dark that day — but we know we drove through because Walt was marking the routes we took on a map that we still have.
In 1992, Walt and I drove the length of the Loire Valley as far as Orléans on our way from Nantes to Paris. We stopped in Saumur, drove through Azay-le-Rideau, saw Chambord from the car. I didn't do photography much back then, but Walt might have pictures. The weather was cold, gray, and even foggy, and I had caught a bad cold out in Brittany. It was pretty miserable.
On none of those trips did we ever go to Vouvray. I'm not even sure we were much aware of the existence of the wine or the village before about 10 years ago. We weren't aware of the existence of Montrichard or Saint-Aignan either. It wasn't until October 2000 that we really got a clue.
That changed everything. Through a series of circumstances, we ended up moving to Saint-Aignan in 2003. This week is the sixth anniversary of the week when we found the house we now live in.