Inspiration

Vineyard visits and terrace tastings: our favourite gîtes in the Loire

Nicky deBouille

5 min read

The beauty of staying in a gîte in a wine area is the chance it gives you to plan your week, slowly getting familiar with the terrain as you pop out to visit vineyards and form an understanding of the local wine’s characteristics. The Chinon area for example has deposits of both clay and sand, which make the wines vastly different, even though the famous reds are all made from one single variety, Cabernet Franc. Who would not enjoy to start an evening with the tasting of a selection of regional wines, taking notes and doing blind tests, followed up by a hearty dinner cooked in the gîte’s kitchen.

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Our France expert, Nicky deBouille, has selected some of her favourite wines and five gîtes to help you explore the Loire. 

‘To my great delight the world is now learning the word ‘Crémant’ – the word the Champagne lobby allowed producers of Methode Champenoise to use to describe their sparkling wines. It is remarkably good value, at between €6 and €12 a bottle. Saumur, in the Loire, produces some of France’s best Crémant. It’s fun to do a blind Crémant vs Champagne tasting – comparing notes about flavour, bubble quality, density and zing – and seeing which bottle gets the most positive notes. You don’t need to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy a bubbly tasting!  

Read on for some of my favourite Loire gîtes for wine.’

Ecuries de La Fuye

These beautifully restored 18th-century stables are in the park of a medieval manor in the heart of the Chinon wine area, with huge gardens and a truffle farm. The owners are big-hearted avid wine-lovers who know all the best local vineyards to explore and who does the best, and most memorable tastings. 

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Le Manoir

This manor is also in the gardens of a magnificent chateau. The owners are incredibly down-to-earth and they also have a vineyard.  

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Les Gîtes de Sonnay

These gîtes are the brilliantly renovated wine buildings and former hunting stables of an idyllic chateau. As the charming and eccentric owner works in Cinema it ended up featuring in an episode of Emily in Paris. The estate has a vineyard making excellent Chinon reds and a rose. The famous village of Cravant-les-Coteaux is a few kms away. 

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La Maison Trumeau

More of a smart townhouse than a traditional gîte – serious wine-lovers Mandy and Willo’s lovely Saumur house is a blissful spot for a group of friends to gather and plan a thorough exploration of the Saumur Champigny reds, whites and Cremant de Loire. They have hunted down the best wines and the most accessible winemakers and can put together an incredible itinerary of the best vineyards. 

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Le Seize

This small gîte in beautiful Montsoreau, one of the Loire’s loveliest riverside villages, makes a brilliant base to taste Loire wines, along with the chateaux and abbeys, such as nearby Fontevraud Abbey, where Richard the Lionheart is buried. 

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Discover all of our Gîtes in the Loire Valley here >

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Places we visited

Montsoreau

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