Canal Trip: Day 2 Briare to La Gazonne

Leaving Renaissance moored to the dock in Braire we set off to visit a vineyard in the Sancerre Region. This medieval hilltop village of Sancerre overlooks a vibrant and pulsating region, which has known viticulture since Roman times. In Chavignol, one of the thirteen villages that surround it we sampled the wines of the family-run Henri Bourgeois vineyards.

Ten generations of the same family have toiled at building what is now a thriving well respected business.  Together the family have between them70 hectares of wines spread across 120 plots.  Three diverse soil types each distinctively different can be found in this small area and this and the fact that they grow just two types of grape, the sauvignon and the pinot noir explains why the region produces such a well loved product.

The same village is famous for an excellent cheese made of goats milk and somehow, because the goats have eaten grass growing in the same soil types the cheese makes the perfect compliment to the wine.  

We confess that when it came to buying some souvenirs we shunned the red wines of Sancerre opting for Les Baronnes a refreshing and fruity rosé with an aromatic bouquet that is a delight with most summer time menus. Splashing out a little and having tasted its older brother vintage 2002 we also invested in 2010 vintage Le MD de Bourgeois who grapes grow on hills of kimmeridgian soil so steep that they have to be hand cultivated and picked.

Give it another eight or so years and this wine will we hope mature into a magnificent full bodied and robust white.  We also bought bottles of Etienne Henri from 2000 because we loved the flavour of flint that the soil has bequeathed it.  Before bottling, this wine was stored in oak barrels and this has enhanced the richness of this superb Sauvignon.

Clutching our booty we drove back to our floating home and embarked just in time for lunch.  How very civilised!

In the afternoon we cruised to La Gazonne, passing into empty locks and rising to the highest part of this canal.  That night we moored in splendid rural isolation desolate of civilisation with just nature as our companion.  Lakes and ponds surrounded our beautiful mooring with the Seine River one side of us and the Saone River on the other side, it was perfection personified.

Renaissance is Operated by European Waterways