In total, around forty passionate winemakers took over the Boulevard Heurteloup in the heart of the city of Tours for two magnificent days of wine tasting on Saturday and Sunday, March 19th and 20th, 2022. They were all gathered to share their love of wine and introduce their productions to wine enthusiasts as well as the curious. The principle of this wine festival, which has won the hearts of many visitors, has remained unchanged over the years: simply purchase a tasting glass at the entrance for the modest sum of two euros, and let the taste buds celebration begin.
The winemakers’ stands showcased a wide variety of wines, all more flavorful than the next. Visitors were able to taste fruity reds, dry whites, refreshing rosés, sparkling wines, and many more. The winemakers were thrilled to share their passion, explaining with enthusiasm the unique characteristics of each vintage, its history, terroir, winemaking methods, and more. It was a true immersion in the world of wine!
As you probably know, the Bourgueil vineyard is the kingdom of the Cabernet Franc grape variety. The grape can be vinified in red wine or rosé wine. But at the tasting stands, it is mainly red wines that are displayed for tasting. Even if most of the winegowers offer to start with a small glass of rosé, or even in some cases, sparkling wine (Champagne style). That being said, this year due to the particularly mild weather, we almost regretted the absence of cool white wines …
At this year’s Bourgueil wine festival, a nice mix of young winegrowers (Sébastien Wucher, Azéline Delarue, …) alongside a few well established estates (the likes of Domaine de la Chevalerie, Domaine de la Butte or Domaine Taluau Foltzenlogel).
Regarding the wine tasting protocol, it is still done pretty much the same way as at any festival. Most of the wineries offer to taste wines from different plots of their vineyards. The opportunity to compare the different styles of wines that can be produced from the different terroirs of the Bourgueil wine region.
Near the river Loire, the vines produce rather fruity wines that are easy to drink in their youth. The term “Vin de Soif (“wine for the thirst”) or “Vin de copains” (“wine for friends”) has often been heard during the day. This does not mean that these wines are of lesser quality, on the contrary, some of these Bourgueil wines are extremely charming and somewhat “magnetic” (you know, when the glass keeps getting attracted to the bottle).
Cuvée 37140 from Domaine Sébastien Wucher is typical of these gravel wines (typical subsoil of the banks of the Loire) which produce supple and fruitful wines, to be shared with friends for the first summer barbecues.
A few miles away from the Loire, going up the hillsides where clay-limestone subsoils are found, different types of wines are produced : full-bodied, more tannic and with extra structure.
The “Roc collection” cuvée from the Marchesseau estate typically falls into this family of Bourgueil wines. A the name of the cuvée suggests, the wine literally comes from a rocky terroir… coupled with aging in a troglodyte cellar, in the heart of the rock.
What about the quality of the latest Bourgueil vintages ? The Bourgueil 2020 vintage is a special one since it has been marked by the first lock-down in France.
It was also fun hearing some winegrowers explain how they quite enjoyed the period : so happy to be able to work the whole day outside when all other people had to remain at home, stuck between four walls !
Oh yes and by the way : the 2020 Bourgueil vintage is a superb vintage!
Speaking of vintages, some estates such as Le Clos de l’Abbaye – run by the Lorieux family – offer vertical tastings (tasting of the same cuvées in different vintages).
It is always a privileged way of tasting wines and seeing how the same vines, from one year to the next, can produce wines with such different personalities… Wine is a source of constantly renewed surprises, and this is undoubtedly what makes it so magical.
That’s all for this year’s Bourgueil wine festival. See you in 2023.