A château with a storied past and a couple with some progressive ideas have found each other in France’s Loire Valley. The Complete Wine Experience serves up fresh ideas in a fairytale setting.
When Belgian couple Kathleen Van den Berghe and Sigurd Mareels first saw Château de Minière, it was love at first sight. Nestled among the vineyards in France’s Loire Valley, Château de Minière looks like a building from a fairytale.
The property so captivated them that Van den Berghe and Mareels bought it as much for its charm as for its winegrowing abilities. With 18 hectares under vine – some of which are more than a century old – spread over three of the seven municipalities of the appellation (Ingrandes de Touraine, Restigné and Benais), they – along with winegrower Eric Goujat – produce a range of award-winning light- to full-bodied red wines that are 100% Cabernet Franc and 100% certified hand-harvested organic.
Promoting their organic practices, they believe that healthy soil is not only better for the environment, but it also ensures superior quality and flavour of the wine. Weeding between rows, adding organic materials, excluding chemical fertilizers, and ploughing under the rows are all practices employed.
From the moment Van den Berghe and Mareels took ownership, every step of the restoration has been conducted with a modern touch, but with careful consideration for tradition and historic preservation. And there’s a lot to preserve — through the centuries the estate has served as a fortified farm, a mansion and the Château. It has been handed down through a line of women for two centuries, beginning when Marie-Genevieve d’Espinay married Martial du Soulier in 1767, bringing him the property in her dowry.
The grounds offer a dynamic variety of plants from all over the world, from giant sequoias that are 150- to 200-years old, to the ‘tree of heaven’, a member of the Simaroubaceae family from China. Self-guided walks around the grounds are popular, as they are around the rest of the Château and vineyard. The boutique offers artisanal, wine-based products such as pieces of art, jam, fruit on wine, gifts around wine, unique pieces of furniture, and more. And special activities such as meals with assorted wines, wine tasting, vineyard activities, professional seminars in the historic building, and even life coaching in the park are tailor-made for guests.
They are now experimenting with new styles of wines – in particular, ‘sparkling/pétillant naturel’ wines – becoming one of the first wineries to offer a 100% Cabernet Franc sparkling dry red.
This effort, as with everything else at Château de Minière, will be focused on how it complements the complete wine experience, as their goal is to leave guests with a strong connection to not only the Château’s wine, but to its environment and the conservation of its unique history.
Château de Minière
23 rue de Minière
+33 2 47 96 94 30