Friday, June 07, 2013

Sunshine and wine

The last big event in my May of Fun was a visit from my lovely sister and her lovely friends on the occasion of Vitiloire, one of my favourite events in the Tours social calendar. Vitiloire is the biggest and the best of all the various wine festivals (and there are a fair few) that go on in these parts. It brings together hundreds of winemakers from all over the Loire Valley - you pays your 5€, you buys your glass and you tastes for free.

Contrary to appearances in the photos below, it actually alternated between bucketing down (and even hailing at one point) and bright sunshine. Luckily there were enough tents to hide in and the rain kept the numbers down a bit (even so, it was often difficult to get to each counter to do a tasting, since dickheads kept just crowding around while drinking their wine instead of moving out of the way).

We found out what wines of the Loire we were just by smelling various scents - I am a red Gamay, a Chinon rosé or a white Jasnières (a wine I'd never actually heard of before). I was surprised at how accurate it was based on just smell. It wasn't even wine smells per se, more like the sort of grassy or charcoaley or whatever you might actually identify in a wine if you can identify these things. I normally cannot tell you at all whether a wine smells of raspberries or grass cuttings, so it was a suprise that he nailed it (I do like a light, fruity red like a Gamay, of course I love Chinon rosé, and although I don't drink whites, I took the opportunity to taste a Jasnières and I did actually enjoy it). This was all written out for us on a "doctor's prescription", so there you go, I just have to drink wine for my health.

I didn't manage to buy as much wine as I would have liked (only three bottles!) but we had a nice time and it sttayed all very civilised. My sister and her friends also stocked up on a few bottles and - tragedy! - because they didn't have any checked luggage, we had to have a go at drinking some of them back in their hotel room that evening before heading out for a meal. (A kind of disappointing flammekueche, as opposed to the as-always delicious tartiflette we had at The Cheese Restaurant the night before.)


Everyone looks genuinely chuffed here... Could it be all the wine?

It's a bold claim, but I dunno, I think I know a better Dutch Mod Garage Beat Surf band. Fat and the Crabs on the other hand... outstanding. (Also, sounds like a night with your momma, hi-yo!)

It's obligatory to pay homage to the monster of Tours

On Sunday, we took a little daytrip down to Chinon, one of my favourite towns (which I've been to on a number of occasions, including with my sister). The girls went on a visit of the château, while I had a wander around the town and, more importantly, sipped rosé in the sunshine (Sunday was a genuinely nice day, weather-wise). We also had a long and deliciously lunch (and more rosé) at a café on the main square. I had a yummy coq au vin. It was all very relaxed - the weekend was all about food and wine, really, especially for me since I didn't even go to the château (been before). Unfortunately, Jess says the feature mould is no longer in situ :(

A street in Chinon

I found a Secret Jesus underneath some scaffolding

A statue of Rabelais in Chinon. My Rabelais Fun Fact is that he once wrote that a swan's neck makes for the best toilet paper known to man

The Vienne in Chinon

Chilling on the banks of the Vienne
We wrapped up the trip back in Tours with my first visit to the guinguette of the year (it only opened the week before). Luckily enough, it was still sunny and warm enough to make the trip, since I think we've been every time Jess has visited. And of course, the opening of the guinguette really kicks off summer in these parts (and not a moment too soon).

A lovely weekend although I'm looking forward to (continue with) a quiet June! Oh and PS DJ Pie and DJ Pie's pies made a special encore appearance at my sister's request. I even made some special goat's cheese and pumpkin pies for her (being a vege). DJ Pie is available for all your party needs! PPS Finally, we have proper consistent nice weather - sunny and hot! Seriously, I was still wearing a coat into May, as the first photo above testifies to. Long may this continue!


  1. Yay! Thanks for having us!

  2. Omg, how have I never seen the Tours' monster???

    1. Let me know nxt time you're here, we'll go visit him!

  3. Ah a quiet said it. That's what I have been enjoying. May really was hectic for us all...I guess we were all forcing the spring fever, even though it felt like winter most of the month!

    This wine festival sounds awesome! 5euros, a wine glass purchase and voilà? Wine for all?? Sounds like my kind of place! I have never heard of this Jasnières it dry or sweet?

    AND...LOVE that blow up champagne bottle!!!! How festive!

    1. It's a lot of fun. Jasnières must be dry, I hate sweet wine.

    2. Ah! Me too! Sweet wine is so gross! Some people really love it. I don't get it. Have a nice weekend!

  4. This all looks and sounds fantastic! I'd love to go to a wine event like that! I've never heard of the wines you've mentioned. I'll try and get a prescription. :)
    I keep missing the yearly wine-tasting in Grenoble's city center (it's literally a few blocks from my place!)- I think it's more pricey (and smaller) though! It's no Loire valley.

    As a woman who's man comes from the land of la Tartiflette; hells yes it's always good! I took my mom to Annecy for one when she came to visit. Tartiflette aux cèpes is my current fave.

    I'm not big on white wine myself...I do enjoy Tariquet, Gewürztraminer and few other sweet ones for apéro.

    1. Yep, this is a great region for wine, I've discovered so much since living here. Love a good tartiflette, not cèpes though!

  5. I feel like I need that blow up Champagne bottle. I think I'd stick it on my roof.


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