Château du Perron
When it comes to wine, and to the Loire in particular I feel, I realised a long time ago that no matter how much I think I might know, there is always more to learn and discover. Château du Perron is a case in point; the château is located near Lémeré, almost directly south of Cravant-les-Coteaux, on the opposite side of the Vienne. Although it lies only about seven kilometres south of the river, the estate lies right on the periphery of the Touraine appellation. It feels quiet and sleepy here, a long way from the busy vineyards clustered around Chinon, which is only about 20 minutes away by car. Indeed, if you take a drive down in this direction – perhaps on your way to visit Richelieu, the historic 17th-century walled town built on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu – the vines of Chinon soon fade into distant memory, the landscape a rolling pastoral sea of wheat, sunflowers and other arable crops. Vines are a rare sight here.
The proprietor of the rather grand-sounding Château du Perron is François Blanchard (pictured above). The latest in a line of vignerons dating back to at least the 19th century, his grandfather and then father had built up a significant domaine around the château, amounting to more than 50 hectares. Their approach was centred around quantity rather than quality though, and the wines they produced here were sold to the négociants in bulk. In more recent times the vineyards fell into disuse or were pulled up, no doubt as old age and ill health took their toll on the older generations.