France! Day 11: Château Chenonceau & Cave de Vouvray

A portrait of Louis XIV at Chenonceau

The institute where I’m studying offers day trips to various castles around the area every week. This is the one excursion that I went on. 
Usually, the excursions consist of a pair of castles that will be visited but this one was one castle followed by wine caves. Possibility of a wine tasting? Very likely. :D

<-- Here's a portrait of Louis XIV that he himself gifted to Catherine de Médicis (if I remember correctly) after visiting the castle one summer and enjoying it so much. haha I found that so amusing. "Wow, great place! Here's a beautifully framed portrait of myself for you to hang up and admire." :D I should try that some time just for fun.

About an hour after we left school, we arrived at Château Chenonceau. I know this isn’t really a food post so I’ll be brief with my words. There is a pretty interesting history behind this castle so I’ll try to summarize it quickly! 
Serene path surrounded by tall trees guiding you to the castle.
The small section to the right was built by a minister and his wife. The king, seeing his minister live in such a modern (at the time it was in the Italian Renaissance style = the “it” thing) took the castle away after he found out that the minister had used his money to build it. 

The king, King Henry II then gifted his castle to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers (who was widely touted for her exceptional beauty). She had the bridge built. 
(right) Garden "commissioned" by Diane de Poitiers. On the opposite side of the castle you'll see Catherine de Medecis'

After his death, Catherine de Médicis (King Henry II’s wife) took possession of the castle and had the gallery built on top of the bridge. And now it’s the second most visited castle in France after Versailles near Paris. 
(left) The foyer of the main entrance. (right) The gallery that Catherine de Medicis (had) built.

Ok, now onto the wine cave of Vouvray! We got to tour a section of the caves where white wines were being aged. They site in crates, to be mechanically rotated or are placed in racks where they’re rotated manually twice a day. 
Thousands upon thousands of bottles of white wine being aged!
Vouvray only produces white wines. We got to taste 3 kinds, one dry (sec), medium dry (demi-sec), and soft (moelleux). 

To taste, you go from driest to least so the sugars build gradually. The difference between each wine is noticeable in every way! Which surprised me a bit because I’m not much of a wine drinker (at all) but I figured this where better to learn some basics about wine other than in France! 

Personally, I preferred the first wine (Vouvray Pétillant) because it was the least “pétillant” (bubbly) and as a result, went down really smoothly. It smelled floral with hints of fruit (I don’t remember what stood out). 

The second wine (De Chanceny, 2008) smelled absolutely delicious! I don’t mean that it smelled sweet but it was so pleasant—reminded me of a beautiful meadow full of flowers at sunrise, where there’s dew on the grass and the quiet hum of birds. Yeah. I got that from smelling this! Drinking it however was a different story. It was très pétillant à l’arrière de la gorge. When you swallowed the wine, the many tiny bubbles distracts you and gave it almost a spicy character. Meh. 

Last wine (Or & Lumière). Oh boy. I can tell that I’m glowing already. Taking in the aromas of this wine was uncomfortable. It was just so sweet! Supposedly this wine gets 20g of cane sugar per bottle to give it that sweetness and the bubbles as well. I took a sip and had to put it down. Too sweet for my liking. It's an award-winning wine though so I'm sure there's a lot more to it than what I got.

All in all, this was a great excursion. I wouldn’t have been able to do these things on my own so I’m glad. It was 30€ well-spent. :D