My trip to the Loire was pretty much just wine, wine, and more wine. but there were a couple detours from meeting wine makers and tasting in caves with them. Here are some of the other wacky things I managed to get into.
Laurent and I were driving back from Touraine and he decided to stop to show me a famous cathedral on the banks of the Vienne river. I think it was the Cathedral of St Martin. It was cool and all, but then we walked down to the Vienne river. I'd been threatening to jump into the Loire, but Laurent hadn't believed me and I decided that I might not get a better opportunity during the trip than this. I don't know why, but I just had this feeling that visiting the Loire would be more real if I jumped into it.
It really was actually pretty nice, but I didn't stay in for long. We had more places to go and I'd accomplished my goal, or close enough, the water in the foreground is the Vienne. Technically the Loire is on the far side of the sand bar.
That night Laurent's children stayed with friends so we could go out for dinner at a little wine bar in Bourgeuil: Cafe de la Promenade. They served mostly just charcuterie and cheese for food and had a huge room off at one end of the bar stocked with wines from floor to ceiling; almost all local. You could just go in, pick up a bottle, and bring it to the bar to be opened. There happened to be a good selection of open older bottles on the bar that wine makers had dropped by, most weren't even labeled and just had names and vintages written on them with a grease pen. The owner just kept pouring things, we didn't know what they were but it was a lot of delicious mature Cab Franc. We ordered and after some baked escargot (snails) I had this huge Foie Gras Hamburger.
As I was working my way through this mass of beef, mushrooms and foie I realized I'd had nothing but cured meats, cheese, and bread all day. Oh well. I went into the wine room and ended up selecting a Bourgueil that looked interesting.
Laurent said it was from a producer named Pierre Breton who was in fact a very good wine maker, but who had a tendency to moon people a lot. I was intrigued and I launched into a discussion on how funny mooning people can be and listed some of my proudest moonings. I was all for going to visit the winery and then mooning Pierre but in the end Laurent talked me out of it.
A big componant of the bar was the personal service from Dorothee, who was more quintessentially French than a rooster crowing the Marseillaise. She and Laurent got talking about different local wine makers until she totally forgot the apple dessert pizza and burnt it. See above. It was served with flaming Calvados poured on it and still hit the spot, even slightly brulee.