"Life is really amazing. We travel far to find ourselves. We experience the world in order to find our way home. The wisdom eventually goes to basic elements but no short cuts are possible. When we try to convince ourselves staying in the comfort zone, we cheat ourselves and we live unfulfilled". Extracted from an Email sent by Luc and that is constantly in my thoughts.
What an amazing day where nothing went as planned, the beauty of the 'no-plan' plan.
I left Reims this morning under a grey blanket of clouds threatening rain, and it was soon after that it started pouring by the litre while I headed west towards Paris.
My ambitious plan for the day was to drive directly to Sancerre and from there visit and try the Pouilly-Fume and Menetou-Salon wines of the neighbouring regions, before ending the day in Orleans. The reality was that once I arrived to the absolutely-charming-little-village of Sancerre, I spent my whole day there.
The first impression of the Loire Valley from its most Easter location in the Central Vineyards is quite something, not only its well known wines, but seeing where they are produced was great.
I parked my car and walked my way up to the hill top where the historical centre of Sancerre is located, with a magnificent view of the surrounding vineyards and the River Loire. Walking around the village was so pleasant, that I did not feel like doing anything else. Lunch time, but really not wanting to sit and eat, I bought a bag of 'croquettes de Sancerre' across the street from the church of Notre-Dame (another one) BTW, those of you who know my passion for biscuits, I can say these are the hardest cookies I have ever had in my life, with almonds and framboise and very tasty. Bag of cookies in hand, I made my way to the 'Maison des Sancerre', an amazing museum explaining all there is to know about the regions wines from the climate, weather, aspect, grape varieties, training, viticulture, vinification... in a very direct and friendly way. If you ever visit the place, really, it is worth the visit.
A bit more walking and time to taste some wines... will not go into detail, but by 18:30 I had tasted 10 including a rosé and a red and a very uncommon matured in oak and on its lees white Sancerre, with a very peculiar complexity to it. Yes, I did buy a box with four Sancerre and two Pouilly-Fume. If you want the tasting notes, see below ;)
Time to continue the route, and the drive to Orleans was beautiful. I had all kinds of weather between the little-over 100 kilometres that separate Sancerre and Orleans, the spring countryside it's at its blooming best and the changing skies presented me with breathtaking snapshots, which I wish I could share with you, but you will have to take my word for it.
Visiting Orleans is my intention for tomorrow, before driving to Tours. For the time being I will go to bed with the rest of the croquettes de Sancerre in my belly, hoping not to get too hungry over night. Life as a job-free person is not always glamorous, and paying under 50€/night does not give you the right to have a restaurant nearby. As Per would say: "when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!" The positive side is that breakfast is only 8 hours away.
BTW, on my way here, I passed by a museum that triggered my attention: Musee de la sorcellerie. Did not know they had those. Have a look! http://www.musee-sorcellerie.fr
Link to the Maison des Sancerre http://www.maison-des-sancerre.com/
Les Romains 2011 (Flint/clay)
Clear, pale, lemon, legs
Clean, med intensity, stoney-steely, lemon, grapefruit, blossom, stone fruit peach, honey
Dry, high acidity, med+alc 13%, med body, lemon, pear, grapefruit, grassy, floral, herbaceous
Drink now, not suitable for ageing
Melodie de Gustave Fouassier 2011 (clay/flint on upper Cretaceous, limestone on lower kimmeridgien)
35 year-old vines
Oak ageing (French) on the lees for 10 months and stirring of the lees
Clear, pale, Lemmon, legs,
Clean, med+ intensity, honey, floral: blossom, biscuit, vanilla, lemon, developing
Dry, high acidity, med alc, lemon, toasty, honey, stone fruit: peach, floral: blossom, creamy, buttery, vanilla
Can drink now, suitable for further ageing
Domaine de Cassiers 2012 (clay/chalk)
Pierre J. Fouassier
Clear, pale, lemon, legs
Clean, med+, floral: acacia, lemon, grassy, herbaceous, fully developed
Dry, high acidity, med+ alc 12,5%, med- body, lemon, stone fruit: peach, grassy, fresh, med- finish
Very good, drink now, not suitable for ageing