le tasting room

Loire wine tours, tastings, day trips from Paris & short breaks organised by experienced English wine trade professionals.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Wine & Chocolate Tasting at Domaine de la Soucherie

Our group outside on the tasting terrace - splendid veiws over the Coteaux du Layon

We enjoyed a very unusual and interesting tasting at Chateau de Soucherie this week. The estate was bought by the current owners in 2007 from the Tijou family (an old established wine-making family going back generations). The chateau is based in the Coteaux du Layon, not far from Beaulieu and has some of the best views in the Loire valley.

Clearly a lot of money has been spent refurbishing the chateau and estate. I did not have the opportunity to ask too many questions of the owners as we were with clients but I am led to believe that this was a new project for them and the first time they have been involved in making wine.

As well as completely renovating the chateau, La Soucherie also offers a very contemporary reception room (available for private meetings, dinners, events), a maison des amis (which can be used as accommodation in conjunction with the meeting room), a slick inside tasting room and a stunning terrace with the most beautiful views of the Coteaux du Layon.

A range of hand-made chocolates has been created in conjuction with a Parisien chocolatier and these are served together with the wines to create a unique and unusual tasting experience. I have to admit this was a first for us - chocolate can be a difficult fit when it comes to wine at the best of times so this approach is new and just a little off-beat.

We tried their 2008 Savennières with strips of dark chocolate containing a sharp lemon paste/jelly - the outside dusted with fennel seeds. The idea is that the citrussy aspect of the wine is complemented by the citrus aspect of the chocolate. A new approach but interesting and in fact not a clash as I would have expected.

We then tasted the 2009 Rosé de Loire - light, fresh summer fruits backed up with fresh crisp acidity. A good summer wine.

The 2008 Cabernet d'Anjou was served with a tablet of dark chocolate studded with chunks of dried banana and strawberry - again the idea being to marry the fruity aromas in the wine with that of the fruit. I found the strawberry aspect worked quite well but the dried banana did not particularly enhance the match.

The very contemporary meeting room/salle de reception.
We finished with two sweet wines, the Coteaux du Layon 2007 which was light and fresh with honey and pear aromas - easy to drink with good balanced acidity, a good aperitif wine. Finally we had the Chaume 2007 which was served with a dark chocolate covered dried apricot. The rich golden wine had aromas of honey, apricot and spices and it went surprisingly well with the chocolate.

The terrace overlooking the Layon has the best views we have enjoyed since moving to live here in 2006. They are just spectacular and I can recommend a visit to Chateau Soucherie for this alone. When the weather is fine (as it was on this occasion), I can't think of a better place to be. As for the modern approach - well, part of me loved it and a little part of me feels that it has been over-renovated. We almost felt like we weren't in the Loire valley any more. Certainly we got the impression that the owners are trying to push the boundaries, to create something unusual, unique and different.

I'm sure we'll be back again as it provides a complete contrast to the normal tasting experience. We were warmly welcomed and our clients absolutely loved it.

I'll be interested to hear your views.

La Soucherie
49750 Beaulieu-sur-Layon

02 41 78 31 18

No comments:

Post a Comment