A walk in the vineyards? Why yes, of course! After all, no visit is really complete without getting out into the vines. It is how any wine writer gains a connection with a domaine, an appellation or region. Drinking the wines is all well and good, but there is no substitute for seeing the vines and soils from which those wines sprang.
And so with Jean-Michel Poiron (pictured below) of Domaine Poiron-Dabin at the front we set out, up the road, down the dell, walking alongside a small tributary of the Maine. We could have been in a Lord of the Rings remake, albeit one with a very limited costume budget, replacing Bilbo’s breeches and stick with Jean-Michel’s denim jeans and curiously Yorkshire-esque flat cap. We stopped to look at some of the typical granite of Château-Thébaud (a nearby town, as well as being a proposed cru communal), our fingers easily picking away some of the friable rock from the wall before us. And then we continued on, uphill and through the Poiron-Dabin vineyards.
I always enjoy getting out in the vines, and this time was no exception. This was despite the fact that midmorning sun was already generating a baking heat, and after several decades free of the affliction my hay fever seemed to have returned; pretty soon, I was sweating out of even my eyes. Nevertheless, it was a delight to see Jean-Michel’s vines, some very old indeed, and to see the tiny bunches of embryonic flowers – still some weeks from opening – slowly appear. All the same, I was glad to return to the cool, pollen-free air of the cellars. Here Jean-Michel recounted the history of Domaine Poiron-Dabin.