“Bienvenue a Chateau Brandeau”


“A Croque Monseuir and a “sante” to The Loire Valley. Its been great; thanks for having me.”

“Bienvenue a Chateau Brandeau”, the sign comes out of nowhere and I’ve gone past it. I was toldI need glasses but I found out soon before leaving to sort them. I find a space to spin the car and turn down the lane. A dog comes charging up to the car, barking wildly, as I jump out: utterly buggered by the long drive and the baking sun, to take a first glimpse of the vineyard I’ll be working on.

I’d told myself I wanted to visit the other two regions of the Loire Valley before the four hour drive down to Bordeaux. I’d have my work cut out.

It was a long day. I decided I wanted to head out of Tours early and take in a medieval Chateau, with a vineyard, which is notorious. The one I found didn’t let me down.

Chateau de Brissac is… in Brissac, Brissac-Quincé. And it’s stunning. I arrive and they tell me the only way in is by doing a tour. I tell the girl behind the desk I’m only here for the wine cellar. She says €10 please. Looks like I’m doing a tour then. Its supposed to be an hour and fifteen but we get to half past and he’s still banging on in French. It was very interesting and a stunning building but I was time conscious and English. Eventually we get to ‘La Cave’. It is amazing. But bottle-less. The only bottles in there are the ones for sale. 2016. Worth the wait then. I buy three: one of each blend, all rose’s, and run for the car to satnav up. My next stop, another Chateau, this time in Nantes, is out the question so I head straight for the centre of town and find a restaurant. Chill. A Croque Monseuir and a “sante” to The Loire Valley. Its been great; thanks for having me.

It’s now a 36° drive down south – that’s Celsius, not direction. A lot of it is absolutely beautiful but there’s a big section in the middle that’s just motorway. And it’s too hot. I have to pull over and put the roof up: AC on. And I’ve got sun-cream in my eye. Not great.

But after what seems more than a reasonable time I pull off and the country roads start again. And now: I’m here. The place where I’ll be helping grow wine – for the first time ever – for 16 days, before heading onwards.

A quick dinner sees me meet the other people helping out Julien (who’s first words to me are “super cool”! so I think we’ll get on). There’re two from Spain, another couple from Cornwall and a German. An interesting mix.  There must be a joke about a bar.
I couldn’t eat or drink and I’ve felt better but I’m sure I’ll be alright by 6am. Lets get sorted and make some wine.

I’m exhausted, I’m dehydrated, and I’m properly excited!
So off to bed… in a little room above the 8 stainless steel tanks filled with rouge. Super cool!


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Chateau de Brissac


Chateau de Brissac. It’s big. The tallest Chateau in France.


The Secret Bedroom of King Louis XIII – Chateau de Brissac


The Medeival Kitchen – Chateau de Brissac


The cellar. Chateau de Brissac


La Cave – Cellar of Chateau de Brissac


Tomorrow is vine time!!


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