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A rainy day in Chinon


The sun doesn't always shine in the vineyard as we well saw last Saturday! But a few drops of rain weren't going to get in the way of our Wine Discovery Experience Day at Château de la Bonnelière.
To work around the weather as best as possible we changed the order of things slightly, so instead of starting in the vineyard like we normally do, we began the day with a visit to the cellar.

Vines Wine Winemaker Vineyard Cellar

The impressive cellar at Château de la Bonnelière lies directly beneath the Chinon Fortress. Marc Plouzeau, the winemaker and owner, showed us the scars left in the rock from the picks used by the miners when the cave was dug by hand to extract the stone used to build the castle.

The cellar

Marc explained to us how the wine is aged in the cellar, and also how he makes his sparkling wine.

Wine Tasting at Château de la Bonnelière

We had our first taste of some of the wines from the winery in the cellar, enjoying a couple of Touraine and Chenin Blanc white wines as well as a Chinon rosé.
Back at the winery, we visited the shed where the tools and machinery used in the vineyard are stocked. Here, Marc told us what each piece of machinery is used for and why.

Winery Chinon Bonnelière Winemaker

In the chai, we saw where the grapes are received during the harvest and Marc enlightened us as to how the juice from the grapes is transformed into wine. We had the opportunity to taste the 2011 vintage of the Château de la Bonnelière directly from the vat. This Chinon red wine, still in the process of ageing, is the wine that the Gourmet Odyssey clients from last year will receive in a few months time.

Vines Grapes Wine Chinon Chai

We continued the wine tasting back at the château with the range of different Chinon red wines that the winery produces, and we sat down to eat in the old barn. 

Red Wines Winery Wine Tasting Grapes

The rain eventually let up a bit in the afternoon, allowing us to get out amongst the vines and finally meet our adopted vines!

Meeting with the adopted vines

Marc explained the work that has already been down in the vineyard and talked us through what remains to do between now and the harvest. The vines are growing quickly at the moment and are in flower. To help the vines support all of the growth, Marc showed us how to raise the training wires and place the branches between them. It was then time for us to work a few rows on our own!

Vines Vineyard Bonnelière

Marc also explained how to go about debudding in the adjacent plot of Sauvignon Blanc vines.
The day finished in front of the dynamizer that is used to prepare the biodynamic treatments at the winery. Marc talked us through the biodynamic philosophy and how it differs from organic cultivation.

Debudding Biodynamic Winery Wine Organic cultivation

So, despite the weather, we managed to cover many aspects of winemaking during the day. Fortunately we were accompanied by a passionate winemaker, and hardy clients well equipped with wellies and cagoules!

Comments

  • We were very satisfied with this wine experience day in terms of the welcome, the organisation of the day, the knowledge of wine and the vines of Marc Plouzeau, and the visit of the cellar and chai.

    The only thing that was missing was the sun, which we had all the way homme. How infuriating!

    So, many thanks again for the day, and see you again soon for the harvest and the rest.

    Regards.

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