Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chateau, Armor and Wine

Finally got into Chateau Saumur today (or as Paul calls it; the Saumure Family Ancestral Home).  It is undergoing restoration but the outer walls are back up and some of the interior is open to the public.  There has been a fortification here since the Xth century, originally built by the Conte de Blois to protect against Norman depredations, it became the home of the Counts of Anjou.  Later destroyed, it was rebuilt by Henry II of England in the XIIth century.  A succession of owners followed, Napoleon turned it into a state prison and eventually at the beginning of the XXth century, the town bought it and began its restoration.

Then to the nearby Musee des Blindes which is really an armored tank museum with ugly creations from WWI right up to modern weapons.  Hundreds of tanks, guns, AA weapons, APCs and other weapons of war are on display.

Stopped in for a tour of the Veuve Amiot Winery on the way home.  Founded in 1884 by the Widow Amiot, the winery makes award-winning champagne-like bubbly from locally grown grapes.  Years ahead of her time, the widow started the winery, built houses and schools for her employees and their children and set up an underground series of tunnels to age her wine that is today 1.5 km in length.  Using a lot of automation, the current winery employs 30 employees to make one and a half million bottles of bubbly a year.  And yummy stuff it is too.

Reggie's family home

The Countess surveys her realm from the ramparts

Elaborate cabinet and clock in the chateau

One of the rooms in the chateau.

Chateau from across the moat.

Leopard tank also used by Canada, at the Musee des Blindes

German WWII Tiger tank

Versatile German WWII 88 mm gun

Slice of 16cm thick forward armor of a Tiger tank

Saumur bubbly

Part of the underground winery.  Natural temperature and humidity control.

Auto-rotators used to persuade the lees into the bottleneck

Undergound tasting room.

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