The harvest at the Clos du Chateau in Valencay . This is right near the Chateau de Valencay , in a vineyard surrounded by old walls .Vineyards were in the place since Talleyrand's time , and before . Talleyrand was Napoleon's minister and the Valencay Chateau was his home . By the way , you can visit the Chateau , wich is well preserved and even retains Talleyrand's personal furniture and paintings . You actually can see the Chateau in the background , with Hubert Sinson ( orange shirt ) with his famous cigar , helping pick the grapes (Sauvignon grapes, by the way...) .
The walled Clos lost its vineyard with the phylloxera catastrophe , wich at the turn of the 20th century destroyed all european vineyards . The following years, it was replaced by an orchard, until it was decided in 1991 to make wine there again . And replanting was achieved in 1992 , on the 2,85 hectares of the Clos . You see now a well tended and mature vineyard with Chardonnay , Sauvignon , Cot ( Malbec ) , Pinot Noir and Gamay .
Bernache , this sweet-but-already-lightly-alcoholic beverage drawn off a fermenting vat , is served [ See picture on the right ] , along with toasts and fancy cakes made by the excellent Valencay patissier Jacky Chichery (I swear I'm not rewarded when I make compliments!) .
And don't be deterred by a potential rainy october day : I've been there on a rainy october saturday too , and it was a really memorable experience ... I even remember having a flat with my vintage Citroen Ami 8 while on my way to the harvest that rainy day, and raging , wondering if it was worth the trouble... I changed the wheel on the side of the road , continued to Valencay , and was positively surprised beyond my expectations ...
Each rank has an appointed volunteer , members of the group . Altogether , this makes the necessary number of harvesters , with the "right" to participate to the fete (but actually , everyone is welcome) and who are remunerated with bottles of the Clos du Chateau wine . We did'nt stay the whole day this time , and so, some of the action is missing .