Back in July, I was invited on a couple’s weekend wine trip with my fella, his sister, and her fiancé to help pick out the ‘bubbles’ for their upcoming wedding reception in October. Early one Saturday morning, we jumped in the car and made the ten-hour road trip to Chinon, France.
Chinon is a village in the Loire Valley, a famous wine region of France. The Loire valley has several small regions within it that produce different grape varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. Chinon is famous for making light and fresh red wine, fruity rosé, and dry white wine. As legend has it, vines existed in the area when the Romans invaded and wine production began as early as 380.
We stayed in the charming Hotel Diderot, who offers a great price for excellent quality. We were all satisfied with our rooms and the breakfast in the morning. The hotel also sells its own homemade jams and jellies that were scrumptious when paired with fresh goat cheese and the house multigrain bread. Chinon is very picturesque and made this girl feel like she was walking around the set of Cinderella. The village is accommodating to tourists as well as easy to navigate and find the various vineyards. We made a point of checking out the organic and biological vineyards and cheese farms; it is easy by a free guide of the local and bio food and drink of the Loire Valley that listed 171 producers and growers. We discovered goat cheese to die for and learnt about using knowledge of the solar system to harvest wine. Amazing!
I do suggest a brush-up on your French before you go. I didn’t, and mine is atrocious to begin with, which left me feeling a bit confused and out of the loop a couple of times. Yes, this is partly my fault but once again while I was in France I was confronted with proud French attitudes and an unwillingness to accommodate. I found this a bit surprising as Chinon and the Loire Valley is a hotspot for North American tourists, with their fat wallets, who have a taste for fine wine and French cuisine. Maybe those people buy wine out of embarrassment of being sophisticated enough to drink French wine but not so much as to learn the language? I don’t know, this could just be me, but the feeling of being ‘uncultured’ is one that I continue to grapple with when I visit some regions of France.
All in all, it was a quick weekend trip but we all felt that Chinon was a great little getaway where we were able to decompress from the week and re-energize. I definitely recommend a visit to Chinon if you love wine, cheese, and admiring the French countryside.