Yesterday, I arrived in the Loire, and it is beautiful as I have heard. Despite the rain, the clouds, and the fact that I was driving, my eyes were popping out at the beautiful architecture, the lush green landscape, and the charming villages. It is my first time to this region of France, but it will not be my last. My GPS took me on a bit of a journey on all secondary roads, which may have lengthened the drive, but I am grateful for it. It was fun to drive on the winding narrow roads, gaping at vineyards and chateaus!
Our first visit on the Wine Traditions tour is Saumur, which is about an hour west of Tours. It is a beautiful small city, that would be a great stop on any trip through this region. We spent our first evening at Pas Saint Martin with Laurent and his wife Valerie, both so nice, generous, and inviting.
He took us through three of his vineyards in Saumur, Anjou, and Coteau du Layon, and he explained why the wines of the region taste the way they do. No surprise, it is the terroir: the unique soil and climate of the place. In Saumur, it is largely limestone soil, but what that means for you is minerality, but also acidity, because the soil can hold water, he can allow for a longer period of maturation, allowing the grapes to grow and develop to greater maturity: that equals, more flavor, more complexity, and more acidity.
You can see that we are bundled up, it is not warm here on the first day of spring, but we are not complaining because it is the cooler temperatures that create the compelling racey acidity that the Loire whites in particular are known for. I know we are all facing away from the camera, but it is the green vineyard, ready for replanting that I wanted you to see. The empty plowed land is a vineyard that Laurent is replanting now for the fourth time. His Great grandfather originally planted it, and each time the vines produce fruit for about eighty years before being replanted. Thinking about that kind of history blows my mind.
There is always much talk about organic wine, and Laurent added to this conversation. He explained his commitment to organic wine making, in the field and in the winery. He is working with a new process that may allow him to reduce his sulfur use even more. It is innovation balanced with tradition here at Pas Saint Martin. Don't you just want a glass of Chenin Blanc right now?
Get into the shop and ask Babs for a bottle of Pas Saint Martin Chenin Blanc!