Barge holidays offer the ideal platform from which to discover the wines of different regions in Europe. Wine tours on the water are relaxed and provide everyone on board with the opportunity to take it easy, immerse themselves in the culture and history of the region, while gently floating through stunning countryside dotted with charming villages and lines of vineyards. Sharing time with like-minded people who love to taste wine is a wonderful way to spend a week or more, plus you benefit from the discounts afforded to groups at some of the tastings.
Wine Tours in the Loire
Barges making their way through the Loire Valley usually make a stop in Montrichard, a famous wine town in the region. Here, guests on board can visit some of the several wineries in the town.
Owned by 3 generations of the Mérieau family, this estate covers 35 hectares close to the River Cher. The rich and complex soils are conducive to the production of a great variety of wines, some of which come from vines that are over 100 years old. Today the young Mr Mérieau is rediscovering the soils of Loir-de-Cher to promote the commercial element of the estate first established by his father.
L’Arpent des Vaudons and Coeur de Roches are two of the estate white wines, both pale in colour with refreshing characteristics, while two popular reds are Le Bois Jacau and Alliance de Générations. The reds are made primarily with cabernet franc giving them a deep red colour and fruity flavour.
Terra Laura/Domaine de Montcy
Set up by an Italian lady, from an olive growing family, this vineyard covers around 20 hectares. Worked with great care and attention and an emphasis on organic production, the grapes are mainly harvested by hand. The wines are produced with no additives at all, all of which is explained to guests who come through on their wine tours.
There are three AOCs (L’appellation d’origine contrôlée) produced at this delightful vineyard, including the AOC Cheverny wine, the AOC Cour-Cheverny white wine and the AOC Cremant de Loire, which is a delicious sparkling vintage. The AOC Cheverny whites are made from the chardonnay and sauvignon grapes, while the reds and rosés are created using gamay, pinot noir and malbec. The romorantin grape, only grown in this region, is used in the AOC Cour-Cheverny white.
Recognised as the first winery in the Cher Valley, Caves Oudart is unique. The family stores all of the wines in the cold dry caves that have been converted for the purpose. The sparkling wines, produced from the chenin and the gamay grapes are stored in the caves on racks for 3 years. During the wine tours that stop off here you get the chance to see this incredible storage place.
Red wines are soft, rounded and fruity and made from côt, cabernet and gamay, while the whites are aromatic, lively and full of chenin characteristics.
Close to the Chateau de Chenonceau, these cellars should not be missed. The guided visit offers a comprehensive introduction to the world of sparkling wines as well as an insight into the history and culture of this stunning area known as the Valley of the Kings.
Some of the most popular wines produced here include the Cuvée JM Rosé, the Touraine Monmousseau Semi-dry, the Crémant de Loire Monmousseau White, and the Touraine Gamay Justin Monmousseau.
The wine tours that take place by barge treat the guest not just to a luxury experience in terms of your accommodation and service on board your barge, but you are also treated to a group travel experience that allows you to increase your wine knowledge and share your experience with other wine lovers.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holidays. Offering holidays to France and other great destinations, itineraries include wine tours and other cultural and themed activities. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
This article is copyright free.