With our 2012 vintage labelled and on the shelf Mr C & I have taken the chance for a break and crossed the channel to take a look around some French vineyards. We arrived in the Loire and settled just north of Saumur and along the road from Vouvray. Our first day had us heading towards the Viti-loire: a collection of 134 wine producers each with its own stall showing a veritable smorgasbord of reds, whites and ros├ęs from the region. # On the way to Tours for the wine exhibition we called in at the market in Amboise. One of the largest markets in Europe the collection of stalls is amazing we bought some bread, strawberries and a few bottles of wine from a small wine producer. Lunch sorted we headed on to the wine fair. At the entrance you pay 5Euros and get a notebook and pen, useful for writing down which wines you preferred and glass on a string, very useful as after a couple of stalls I was likely to forget the children let alone where I had put down my glass! Quite overwhelmed by the volumes of wines on show the following day was spent focusing on one producer. We took a trip around the cellar taking in caves storing 2 million bottles of wine, mostly sparkling, and a cavernous underground passage housing 25 gyropallets that looked almost as old as the caves they were in. Liberal tastings were offered on our return and whilst I gallantly made my way through several stunning sparklings all in the name of research Mr C quickly tracked down the vineyard manager and struck up conversation about spraying regimes, last years vintage and how this years vines are taking shape. For once we are having a drier start to the growing season in Cornwall than they are in the Loire, unfortunately for us it is also true for our week break , hot sunny weather at home whilst in raining here! Only thing to do is find another wine cave to visit. Cheers! Kim