( weekend 27th/28th/29th April 2012)
A special and inspiring rendez – vous ! The ArchAngels´ comments:
By Francesca Jacklin:
Our trip to Villebois was wonderful. What more can you ask for when you have good food, great wine and excellent company; apart from maybe a little sunshine.
Joost and Miguela were the perfect hosts and I’m sure there wasn’t a moment that passed during the whole weekend when we weren’t either eating or drinking.
On Saturday morning Joost and Charles Eijsbouts (one of Joost’s friends who set up Villebois along side him) took us for a tour of the vineyards and winery. It was fascinating to see the vines at various stages with some areas being fairly newly planted and others being extremely old and knarled.
The winery was large and shiny with lots of stainless steel tanks and the perfect conditions to make the clean and crisp wine they strive for.
After our morning’s outing we headed back to Villebois for lunch and more importantly a tasting led by Thierry of the whole Villebois range.
Thierry took us through the whole range of the Villebois wines and it was fun to start with the Petit Villebois right through to the Pouilly Fume and then go back again to the PV just to see the difference. The wines were excellent and my thoughts on them are:
Petit Villebois – a nice entry level wine that’s crisp and zingy with tropical fruits and a hint of elderflower the grapes used in this wine are from slightly younger vines.
Standard Villebois – the grapes used to make this wine are from older vines and the yields are carefully controlled giving this wine more depth of flavour when compared to the Petit Villebois. It’s clean fresh and zingy with plenty of fruit and a nice balance of acidity.
Prestige Villebois – this is a real step up and you get the grassiness and fuller flavour but it’s still crisp and clean with just the right balance of acidity that makes you keep wanting to come back for more.
Sancerre – this has to be my favourite and it has all the flavours you’d expect but with that wonderful flinty minerality that I just love about Sancerre.
Pouilly Fume – what more can I say; again a lovely wine that has the distinctive gunpowder of a Pouilly Fume whilst being refined and elegant.
We also tasted the Brut (excellent) and the two new wines which Simon has posted about.
After the tasting we sat down for a typical French lunch, very long and lazy with plenty to drink. Miguela had totally spoilt us with lots of fresh seafood and fish and I’m very pleased to say that Joost taught Kevin how to shuck oysters which went so well with the Sancerre and Prestige Villebois.
However, the revelation was the goats’ cheese at the end of the meal and how well it paired with the Sancerre; it was a surprisingly good combination.
After an hour or so’s leisurely stroll around the surrounding area in the fresh but drizzly air we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in their gorgeous house sitting in front of a roaring log fire; the weather was rather cool and raining outside.
Around six we ventured outside for more wine but luckily Joost and Miguella have a great outdoor space which is sheltered from the rain and has a huge fire pit so it was perfect, a warm a toasty area to relax whilst drinking a glass or two of Sauv Blanc.
Joost and Kevin were thoroughly intent on cooking dinner on the BBQ but had to resort to plan B as the rain was relentless. However, plan B was simply to remove the largest logs from the fire pit and use the BBQ grill on it to cook the food.
We all retired indoors to eat some very fresh white asparagus and drink more wine whilst the “boys” cooked the meat. An hour or so later they re-appeared indoors with perfectly cooked plates of meat and we continued eating and drinking.
The evening finished in the pool / billiard room playing killer pool and drinking yet more wine!
Sunday morning was all too short but we had a lovely brunch before we headed back to airport and rainy England.
Thank you to Joost and Miguella for being such wonderful hosts and welcoming us into their home and Thierry for making such great wine. Thanks to Sam for organising such a great trip, not too sure about the video clips, although might have to blame Bennett if we don’t like them! And thank you to Simon, Penny, Barry and Hillary for being such good company. And last but not least to Charles who was great company and did a very good job of keeping the log fires burning throughout the weekend!
Kevin and I had a wonderful weekend and if you haven’t had a bottle of Villebois for a while I’d suggest you put a couple of bottles in your next order, the weekend certainly reminded us how good it is!
Francesca 13:40 30/04/2012
By Simon Fisher:
Joost de Villebois, (pronounced Youst like in Joghurt) had a dream to make good wine. Having visited him this weekend I can concur that he has succeeded. His range of Sauvignon blanc wines is extensive and comprehensive. They are all great wines, but like children, each has it’s own character and foibles.
Right from the entry level Petit Villebois (for which Joost proudly shows of his gold medal) to the top of range Pouilly Fume and Sancerre (yes they are both Sauvignon Blanc as well) they are all excellent. Hold any of them up to the light and you will see a little twinkle, that’s the same twinkle you see in Joost’s eye as he talks about his wine.
The Villebois wine maker Thierry Merlet, will I am sure achieve sainthood in the not too distant future, especially if he keeps creating these heavenly wines. I am quite excited to find he is making a Vouvray to add to the range, this is one of my altime favourite wines. We also sampled their new Muscadet, which went belting with shell fish.
You can try them yourself very soon I am sure, but please remember to leave some for me Simon 20:37 29/04/2012
Rather than post immediately I got back from a truly wonderful trip to the Loire, I thought I’d wait a couple of days and then reflect on the experience...
And it was a lovely experience! Our hosts Joost and Miguella were so kind and generous, and together with Charles (business partner) and Thierry (the winemaker) kept us fed, watered, warm and cosy, and very informed! Frankie has done a superb post detailing the wines we encountered, and as Simon has alluded there are a couple of extra wines on their way to the web site too. We were very happy with all of the wines we tried – surprise, surprise! – and that includes the new Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne) and Vouvray (Chenin Blanc aka locally, Pineau de la Loire).
Even if it was a little cool and wet outside, it didn’t matter as we were all enjoying ourselves so much. Meeting the winemaker and seeing the vines and the facilities used to craft the wine we NW customer’s get to consume, was a real privilege.
Joost is rightly proud of the Villebois name, and judging by the number of Awards that has been accrued so far, the aim of producing benchmark wines is a given.
You might wonder if consuming mainly Sauvignon Blanc wine after wine over the course of the week-end might have become challenging, to which the answer is no, and neither did anyone get a hangover either! That is down to the quality of the product – according to Joost – and I can’t argue against that!
Thanks to everyone for making our trip such fun, we shall look back happily and with fond memories of our time together.
Barry 12:16 02/05/2012
Posted in Reviews and Press