My visit to France was orchestrated through Quintessential Wines and Georges Duboeuf Wines. Every bit of it had to do with meeting owners and/or winemakers for each place visited, in formal or informal settings, and sometimes both. All were located in the Beaujolais region of France, starting in the north and then moving southward. Time varied at each château, and each time I listened intently, while the photographer inside of me was also inspired and on pointe.
I’m a true believer that a picture is still worth a thousand words and are for quiet enjoyment. So, I’ll give you a few words and restrain from going overboard in the verbiage department. Enjoy yourself here, in St. Amour, France.
We bagan a media tour at Château de St. Amour, owned by the very sweet and genuinely authentic Sidaurin family, with their onsite winemaker, while the Duboeuf family guides the winemaking process.
On this tour, the one item that really struck me, as being much more Europen than my own California wineries I’ve worked for and visited for stories, is their use of cement fermenting and aging tanks. I did work for Foppiano for nearly nine years, where I first learned about cement tanks… They have an entire wall devoted to being a cement holding tank; but, I haven’t seen anything like these small holding tanks in other countries. The sizes of these tanks range from 70 to 10,000 gallons, and they can also be larger (as in my Foppiano example). When you enter their cellars, aromatic history plays an important welcoming role.
winemaker and tanks
In this photo, Romain Teytea (right, working with Georges Duboeuf Winery) is interpreting the history of the wine cellar and their procedures, as told to him by the winemaker.
owner/grandparents and their adorably shy granddaughter.
I can only imagine the amount of intimidation for such a young child and so many “big” people; curious, yet cautions. She braved through it, though, and I was able to get a smile and nearly a goodbye wave had her arms not been full, as we departed. It’s was a true wine and food experience entrenched with Roman and French history, generosity, and a special camaraderie. Such a visit!
Interesting facts about the château from Quintessential Wines and Château de St. Amour:
The south-facing vineyards of the Estate include 49.4 acres, where most of the vineyards are more than 20 years old and trellised in the traditional Gobelet style. Harvest is conducted manually, in whole bunches. Semi-carbonic maceration and malolactic fermentation take place in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. The wines see no oak. The Sidaurin family owns the Estate and has been aligned with Les Vins Georges Duboeuf for many years.
– Romain and winemakeraklgh;asehalsna
Château de St. Amour ~ Photo Perspective
Greeted by We began our tour in their chateau’s wine cellar, walking through a large ban door. Cement floors, aromas of past harvests, and a working of preparation for their incoming. This was the end of July. Literally the cellar of their home. How intoxicating harvest must be for them, when grapes arrive at the chateau.
Picnicking at Home
Château de Saint-Amour is the northernmost and smallest region of Beaujolais, France. Their estate has a kind of down-home-chateau charm that just draws you in. The “romance” of wine is especially pronounced in this region by virtue of its “amour” name. (Amour is French for love, and you might already know that. This is a “just in case.”) This estate exudes a homey comfort; a true living-working, grape farm. Imagine for a moment, you’ve arrived.
This photo of the Chateau on the wine label honors this silky smooth and great “entry” wine for anyone daring to cross over from white to the red side of wine. (Red wine lovers have every reason to love it, too.) It’s 100 percent Gamay… I believe once you’ve tried Gamay, you’ll never see red wine quite the same way. Similar to the body of a classic, gentle, and well-rounded Pinot Noir, Gamay is in the same wine weight category. Think French onion soup with Gruyère cheese, positioned on a toasted baguette smothered in butter, resting on sweet, white onions, in a savory beef broth. Now, you sip Château de St. Amour’s Gamay, and you know you’ve hit paydirt.
The lovely, long-standing garden touches, a small stable at the back of the gardens; because, the small child “likes to horseback ride.” It seems I’m always allowed to roam freely with my camera and get to know any property; so, I walked to the back of their gardens and discovered their very friendly horses. I curiously discovered their intimate spaces. It does allow for a bit of snooping and I’m always looking for the money shot; something that will deliver real emotion. This chateau is a major, family investment; I instinctively knew that investment. Owning my own family business, I’ve leaned it well over the last 30 years. With grandparents on-site, helping to raise an infant into childhood, hope is alive, well, and all is blooming.