15 June 2014

Touraine-Amboise wines

When we were out riding around one day last week, CHM and I drove through the town of Amboise (my photos of the château are here) and ended up in the village called Limeray, the center for production of the wines that carry the Touraine-Amboise appellation.

We happened to drive past the wine cooperative just on the edge of Limeray. Walt and I have been there before to buy wine — the first time with our friends Jean and Nick, and then another time on our own. We didn't need to buy wine last week, but CHM asked if maybe we shouldn't stop in and buy a bottle to have with our supper. That's what we did.

Most of the wines made in the Loire Valley are not aged in oak barrels, but we noticed one, a Cuvée Léonard, that was barrel-aged, and we decided to buy that one. The Léonard in the name is, of course, Leonardo da Vinci, who spent the last few years of his life in Amboise as the guest of the Renaissance French king François 1er.

On the label you see the words « Vieilli en fût de Chêne » — that means "Aged in oak barrels". As I said, very few Loire Valley wines are aged that way.

Mostly, the wines are fermented and stored in huge stainless steel vats. Some say that process gives the grapes a more natural expression, so that the wine tastes of the grape rather than of wood and heavy tannins.

In fact, most Loire Valley wines are not « vins de garde », or wines you can "put down" to age for a long time. They are « vins de soif » — "thirst wines" — wines you drink young (and that keep you feeling young yourself, I'd say!)


  1. Ken, so I should drink French wine every day to be young for ever. It's the best solution

  2. How was the wine? The label alone would make me want to buy it- it would also make a nice gift.

  3. Hi Ken, thought of you when I read a piece in the NY Times today
    (Dining and Wine) "Rhubarb Flaunts its Savory Side." Sounds
    like it would be good with the turkey you wrote about yesterday.
    Maybe something to keep in mind for next Spring.

  4. Great-looking bottle of wine. I love these fine distinctions between wines, that you point out to us. Now... is the word protégée always added after the appellation phrase? I just don't remember always seeing that word added, but maybe it's always there, and it's part of the standard phrase?

  5. Learn two useful expressions today: Vins de garde et Vins de soif. Good to know :-)
    Thank you Ken.

  6. Not tried the cooperative in Limeray. Have made a note and no doubt we'll find an excuse to drive up that way some time and bring home a few bottles to try :-)

  7. I am in love with that gilded wine label! More information (...en chêne) on wine labels to remember for future use! Be sure to tell us whether you prefer the oak barrel aged wine over the stainless steel vats. Or, maybe it is just a difference that is interesting to taste...

    Mary in Oregon


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