As we drove along the winding roads in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, my husband and I continued our conversation about the rich history, traditional food, and exceptional wines we were experiencing during our trip to the Loire Valley in France. We were curious as to why many of our friends aren’t aware of the wines or even its location and vowed to share our stories (and a few bottles) upon our return home.
As we passed a small farm along that winding road, I exclaimed “Look! The tan cow blends with the color of the barn – I can hardly see it!”. My husband responded, “Just like the wines we’ve been tasting, Cindy – the cow is hiding in plain sight.” He was right.
Although many people want to stand out in a crowd by sporting distinctive clothes or hair, showing everyone their gregarious personality, or creating “drama”, others prefer to be inconspicuous – they’d rather blend in. I’m sure you know plenty of friends or family who fit into either category. At times, each of us is a little of both.
How does the phrase “hiding in plain sight” relate to the wines we tasted? Obviously, the hard working winemakers we met don’t want their wines to simply blend in with others; they do want to be noticed, yet in a different manner. What I realize is that many consumers are overlooking the understated grace and sophistication found in each sip of Loire Valley wines in favor of those from highly publicized regions, with catchy labels, or boasting elaborate tasting rooms.
The Loire Valley wine region may be one of my favorites…not because I had special access to exceptional wineries and vineyards, not because I had enlightening conversations with winemakers and next-generation owners, and not because I felt right at home. During the trip, I discovered essential traits that I value in both the people I met and the wines I explored.
Each week, for five consecutive weeks beginning Wednesday, August 9, I’ll profile a unique winery I had the pleasure to experience. Appreciate, as I did, the unpretentious qualities of Domaine Michel Bregeon in Nantais, the casual elegance of Domaine de la Bergerie in Anjou, the restrained confidence of Langlois-Chateau in Saumur, a genuine humility at Chateau de Targe in Saumur-Champigny, and a quiet strength at Chateau de la Noblaie in Chinon. And those wines!
It’s time for you, too, to discover and explore the beauty, the charm, and the distinct styles of Loire Valley wines. They’re right in front of you. Take time to look.
I’ll see you soon. Cheers! ~ Cindy
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