Chateau De Pas De Loup, Loire Valley, France
The Estate
Cape Town November 30th – Chateau Pas De Loup is the family home of the Bettany family, the owners of Azura. The 300 acre estate is located in France’s Loire Valley bordering the forests of Fontevraud. Translated into English, Pas de Loup means “Way of the Wolf”, so named after the packs of wolfs that once roamed the surrounding forests.The Chateau sits in its own valley at the base of which is a freshwater spring, the Source de St Radagonde. It is in caves located behind the spring that this famous Queen of France is alleged to have taken refuge in AD 680, when she escaped from her husband King Clotaire, prior to founding the Abbey at Poitiers. St Radagonde is the only Queen of France to have been made a Saint. The Greenwich Meridian also runs through the property. 1km driveway lined by an avenue of Platanes View of the Chateau John Doubleday sculpture of wild Boar. Having been through many incarnations, today the Chateau is a family home with stables, a chapel and pigionaire located in extensive parkland, with lakes and ponds and a mixed use farm, comprising 60 acres of vines, 200 acres of cereals (sunflowers, wheat, luzerne, barley), a 12 acre black truffle forest, a herd of Charente sheep and 40 acres of ancient oak woodland teeming with partridge, wild boar and deer.

Chateau De Pas de Loup’s Surrounding Region

The Loire flows for over 650 miles through many different landscapes. From its source beneath the beehive shaped Gerbier de Jonc Mountain in Auverne, to St Nazaire on the Atlantic Coast, it is the longest river in France. Also known as the Valley of the Kings, The region is home to hundreds of Chateaux and was fought over by the English and French until Joan of Arc galvanised the weak Dauphin into action, and the English were finally driven out of the Loire in one of the few decisive actions of the Hundred Years War. The Loire is France’s second largest wine producing region with over 87 Appellations. From Muscadets at the mouth of the Loire, to Anjou wines around Angers, to Saumur in the centre and onto Vouvray, Pouilly Fume and Sancerre in the East, Loire wines cater to every taste, red, white, rose, still or sparkling, dry or sweet.

The strategic importance of the Loire Valley made it an obvious location for the headquarters of successive English, then French Kings prior to Paris becoming fashionable during the 19th Century. None was more important the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, founded in 1101, the year of the capture of Jerusalem during the first Crusade. The Abbey is just a few kms away from Chateau Pas de Loup. Fontevraud is still one of the world’s largest living Monastic cites and was the base of the English Plantagenet Kings and Queens for several hundred years. As such it is the home to scores of famous tombs, including England’s King Henry II, his son Richard I (the Lion Heart, leader of the 3rd Crusade), Isabelle D’Angouleme, & Her Majesty Eleanor, Queen of France & England, Duchess of Aquitaine & Countess of Pitou.

Wine Making at Chateau Pas de Loup

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Romans planted the first vineyards in the Loire Valley during their settlement of Gaul in the 1st century AD. By the 5th century, the flourishing viticulture of the area was noted in a publication by the poet Sidonius Apollinaris. In his work the History of the Franks, Bishop Gregory of Tours wrote of the frequent plundering by the Bretons of the area’s wine stocks. By the 11th century the wines of Sancerre had a reputation across Europe for their high quality. In the High Middle Ages, the wines of the Loire Valley were the most esteemed wines in England and France, even more prized than those from Bordeaux. The concept of Terroir, which refers to the unique combination of natural factors associated with any particular vineyard, is important to French Vignerons. It includes such factors as soil, underlying rock, altitude, slope of hill or terrain, orientation toward the sun, and microclimate (typical rain, winds, humidity, temperature variations, etc.). The vineyards of Pas de Loup rest on gentle south facing coteau’s on soils of tuffeau limestone which lend a chalky and mineral quality to its wines a hallmark of Loire Valley wines. Our wines are harvested by hand and transformed into its world class wines in its state of the art winery. All its wines are classified AOC (Appellations d’Origine Controlee,) the highest possible ranking.

Chateau Pas De Loup Wines Available at Azura

Azura specially imports the Owner’s wines from Chateau Pas de Loup for the pleasure of our guests. To avoid damaging these fine wines with a lengthy sea crating from Europe to Southern Africa, they are air freighted from Paris directly to Benguerra Island. Its an expensive exercise, but one we hope you will find worthwhile in enabling you to enjoy something unique to the owners during your stay at Azura.

Crémant de Loire Blanc – Winner of the Medaille D’Or Luxembourg

Chateau Pas de Loup’s award winning white sparkling wine is made from a blend of 60% Chenin Blanc and 40%Chardonnay, and named after the Chatelaine at Pas de Loup.

The word “Crémant” is used on bottles of bubbly wine from France that are made outside the designated Champagne area, but that employ the same methods as those used in Champagne to make their wines sparkle. Several sparkling wine appellations in France were given the use of this word in the 1980s with an agreement that they would no longer use the term “méthode champenoise” on their labels, replaced with the term “méthode traditionnelle,” or “traditional method.” Crémant wines must adhere to other strict wine-making rules: the grapes must be picked by hand and whole bunch pressed, yields must not be above 70 hectolitres per hectare and the wine must age for at least 9 months on its lees before the wine passes a compulsory tasting panel.Following pressing the wine undergoes its first fermentation to create what is known as the ‘vin de base’ which is the same process as producing a dry white wine. The wine is then poured into the bottle and a small amount of yeast and sugar added. This matures in a cool cellar where a second fermentation process begins and more alcohol and Carbon Dioxide are produced. Because the bottles are sealed during this second fermentation, the Carbon Dioxide cannot escape and becomes trapped in the wine. During the second fermentation, the yeast eventually use up the available supply of nutrients and sugar and die. This marks the completion of the second fermentation and the beginning of the maturation process. Our Cremant is then aged for 2 years in our tuffeau wine caves and this is when the true aromas and flavour of the Cremant come together. At this stage the dead yeast cells need to be removed while retaining the carbonation within the bottle. It involves tilting each bottle towards the neck and rotating it often to collect the yeast just under the cap. The tip of the neck is then flash frozen and the cap removed, and the final cork fitted. The wine has a brilliant pale straw yellow robe, very fine bubbles forming a nice persistent crown. After swirling, its bouquet is an explosion of fruits with lively aromas of citrus zest, crunchy apple, fresh mint, almond, freshly baked brioche and ground stone. On the palate, the first enticing impression is a tamed sparkle which caresses your tastebuds with lingering savours of fresh quince, pear, litchi and menthol. Beautiful finish enlivened by a fine mineral character. Our Crémant Blanc is best served chilled and can be enjoyed as an aperitif or it also pairs well with a wide variety of dishes including light salads and seafood dishes, especially shellfish.

Crémant de Loire Rose

Made from Cabernet Franc, the most important red grape of the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine region, is a close relative of Cabernet Sauvignon. It ripens earlier than its more famous cousin, making it better suited to the cooler climate of the Loire. First of all, its colour is surprising. Its deep and dark pink robe, with light salmon tinges, retains a fine and delicate foam with light and persistent bubbles. The nose is really alluring with its fresh fragrances of little red fruits, delicate and pleasant. Then the palate is totally convincing thanks to its elegance and balance with a very fresh attack, followed by a more vinous finish. To be enjoyed as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to desserts such as chocolate fondant.

Chateau Pas De Loup Wines Available at Azura

Saumur Rouge Winner of the Gold Medal at Macon

Saumur Rouge is made with 100% Cabernet Franc, an ideal red wine for summer. It is sufficiently fruity that it can be refreshing when served slightly chilled, yet it has enough structure to stand up to the flavours of red meats, cheese, and our local Portuguese spices.

The grapes are harvested in October and full bunches are carefully selected by hand prior to being transferred into the fermentation tanks. Alcoholic fermentation takes place on the skins for up to 21 days when it is transferred to the press to remove the skins and pips from the juice. We press very lightly to ensure only the mildest tannins are extracted.

The wine then undergoes the malolactic fermentation, transforming the harsh malo acids into lactic acids. It then spends up to 12 months maturing in our tuffeau caves, which is the region’s special feature, before final filtering and bottling. Chateau Pas de Loup’s Saumur Rouge is ruby red in colour, with purple crimson tinges and a steady, bright look. A fine and elegant nose of red fruit, particularly deep Morello cherry, along with yellow peach and spicy aromas. On the palate, the attack is stylish and harmonious, with a good tannic structure which displays a pallet of blackcurrant and blackberry aromas with worn leather, juniper, dried liquorice and wood, veiled in grey pepper.

Excellent served with all meat dishes, especially peri peri chicken, lamb and duck.

Rosé de Loire

A dry Rosé created from 80% Cabernet France and 20% Pineau d’Aunis, a grape varietal unique to the Loire Valley. Rosé wines are produced using a method called the “Saignée process.” In this process, red grapes are brought in, fermented on the skins, and before the wine gets full-contact with the skins for colour, it’s “bled” off into a separate tank.

Chateau Pas de Loup’s rosé has a clear robe, from pale pink with glints of grey, to raspberry pink with orangey hints. A very aromatic nose, with notes of small red fruits (strawberry, raspberry, redcurrant), of wild flowers and English candy. It is light, supple, delicate and refreshing on the palate. To be served chilled, and adding ice cubes is an option particularly in hot weather.

Rosé D’Anjou

This semi sweet Rose composed of 100% Cabernet Franc, has a residual sugar content of around 10g/l. The wine making process is the same as dry Rosé, except that the fermentation is halted by chilling the wine while there is still a level of residual sugar to give the wine its semi sweet taste. A clear reflection of the climate from where it comes, this wine is tender and ever so slightly mild, and gives its best when still in the full bloom of youth. To the eye it is bright, with a crystal clear robe of raspberry red or with glints of salmon pink. On the palette one again finds notes of small red fruits (strawberry, redcurrant), but also rose, a freshness finale of mint and white pepper. The perfect wine for gourmands, tender rosés are round and mellow on the palate with a liveliness that compensates for the sweet sensation and refreshes the finish. Ideally suited as an aperitif or with dessert. For further information please contact Gerdi Swanepoel on or 0027 21 426 0991