Culture versus Wine

A difficult one. We are more likely to be interested in wine than improving our local knowledge but 10am does seem a little early to start drinking.

Our day began with the Forteresse Royale Du Chinon or, as John described it, another bloody castle. Anyway, it’s perched on the hill and towers over Chinon and Kim was really only interested in views across the Vienne River.

The Chateau dates back to the 10th Century and has an important place in the history of England and France. Henry II of England took ownership of the castle in 1156 and stayed there until he died. King Phillip of France won it back in 1205 and it has remained in French hands ever since. In 1429, 17 year old Joan of Arc met the future King Charles VII there and was instrumental in ending England’s ownership of France. A brief reminder that teenagers are an awesome force of nature, to be treated with caution.

By mid 19th Century the fort had fallen into decay and was later recognised as a historic monument. A programme of repair was started and it became, once again, an imposing structure.

This afternoon was wine tasting, woohoo! A couple of Caves were recommended by a cafe owner, so we took a walk out to Cave Monplaisir. Consisting of many caverns carved out of the stone hillside, it sells wines produced by 3 local domaines, is full of barrels of drinkable wine with the oldest dating back 40 years. We were, however, concerned about the state of the empty bottles.

We followed this with a further tasting at La Dilettante Chinon before heading back to the apartment with a few of the best. We had limited the tasting and only have three bottles, the challenge is to decide which one we need to fill the car with.

One advantage of wine tasting by bike, or on foot, is of course you don’t need to worry about driving. Another is that you have no easy means of transporting any wine home and can therefore keep drinking all day without paying for a single drop.

At some point during our wanderings, John picked up a leaflet for a town walk and after dinner we followed a route around many roads we’ve already visited. It’s amazing how much of the medieval history has survived and the buildings are beautiful. But…if we read another tribute to Joan of Arc meeting Charles II in 1429 much of the town may not last much longer.

Tomorrow, we cycle the voie verte to Richelieu. 20km along a relatively flat disused railway line. If we’re lucky it’s going to be easy cycling.

One thought on “Culture versus Wine”

  1. Oh, mon dieu, what names those wines have! I LOVE it… pleasure and the dilettante. Way to go.


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