Just a 5-min drive from Amboise is the Château de Montdomaine, a beautiful winery we visited on Saturday afternoon right in the heart of the Loire Valley. We were greeted by Louisa and her three friendly dogs out front and had a lovely time touring the property and tasting the wines.
Amboise winery spotlight: Montdomaine
One of my favorite things to do in France is visit wineries. I love hearing people’s stories, seeing how their wines are made, tasting the wines, and everything else that comes with the experience. I’m fortunate to live in the Loire Valley where there’s no shortage of amazing wineries (with affordable wines!) in a 2-hr radius. The Loire Valley is vast and broken up into five regional territories: Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine and Centre-Loire. Within these territories, there are 87 appellations. To show just how much the area contributes to French and global culture, the Loire Valley (between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000.
For our first time to Amboise in the Touraine wine region, I reached out to my friend Cathy of Le Tasting Room. Cathy and her husband Nigel have a top-notch wine tour company and used to live closer to me near Angers but moved out by Tours in recent years (we even took a picture of a ghost, I think). They recommended that we go visit Louisa and Fred of Montdomaine in Nazelles-Négron, so that’s exactly what we did.
Just five years ago in 2015, Louisa and her husband Fred bought the château and have been making wine ever since. Fred’s family has been in the winemaking business for 500 years and their philosophy is to let nature guide the production of the wine, thus bringing out the best of their unique terroir.
As their website explains, they base their approach upon traditional methods and focus on sustainable practices that can be carried into the future. They are working toward formal organic certification.
You’ll see more of the winery in an upcoming YouTube video about our stay in Amboise, so keep an eye out for that.
We unfortunately didn’t get to meet Fred this time around. In addition to being a winemaker, he’s also the chef at their restaurant in Amboise, Chez Bruno, and also works at their wine shop nearby.
Now let’s get to the wines. At Montdomaine, you can choose from white, red, rosé, and sparkling wines, so there’s something for everyone. One thing you’ll notice (on the still wines) is that Montdomaine uses a wax wine seal instead of a foil wrapper. It’s aesthetically pleasing, and historically, an airtight wax seal offered more protection for the wines during transport and storage.
Here are three of the wines we tasted with information about each:
2018 Vouvray Blanc Pétillant
I LOVE sparkling wines! Vouvray wines, both sparkling and still, are made with the chenin grape and there’s a lot of variation in the appellation in terms of sweetness due to the amount of residual sugar in the grapes. Some Vouvrays are more dry and others are on the sweeter side. Dry whites are my favorite and this bottle is excellent. With its bruised apple notes and pale yellow color bursting with fines bulles, this tasty sparkling Vouvray is a perfect complement to a holiday meal or whenever you’d like some bubbly. Champagne has nothing on the sparkling wines of the Loire Valley!
2018 Malbec L’Artiste
This Malbec, called Côt in the region, is a deep opaque purple color. It has rich bramble fruit on the nose with freshness, bright acidity and rich tannins. A touch of spice and a hint of licorice are complemented by a rich, spicy finish. To fully appreciate this bottle, wait a year before you uncork it. It’s perfect alongside a winter meal.
2019 Ballade des Dames
This Chardonnay made by Louisa is fruity and floral and was a total surprise — in the best way. I am NOT a fan of the oaky, buttery Chardonnays I know from the USA and didn’t have high hopes, but this wine was excellent. If Louisa hadn’t told me it was Chardonnay, I wouldn’t have known by the taste. It doesn’t taste like the Chardonnays I’d had before and hated because of two reasons: the cool climate of the terroir and the fact that the wine doesn’t absorb much flavor from the older oak barrels used in the wine’s production. If you’re turned off by Chardonnay, trust me and try this wine. You’ll love it if you like dry floral and fruity wines like me.
Want to visit?
Amboise is an easy 2h15m train ride from Paris and Louisa and Fred do visits by appointment Monday through Saturday. If you aren’t able to visit in person, this next part is for you. A great perk about Montdomaine is that they are able to ship their wines to the USA. Sometimes I talk about wines and other products here that are only available in France, so I’m happy that’s not the case with these wines. Most run between 6 and 20 € per bottle.
If you’d like a taste of France for the upcoming holiday season or just because, check out the Montdomaine website for more information on shipping to the USA or drop me an email. I hope you love their wines as much as I do!
Are you familiar with Loire Valley wines? What’s your favorite?
Disclosure: I have no affiliation with Montdomaine and this post is not sponsored.