The Château du Hureau is located in the small town of Dampierre-sur-Loire, about four miles east of Saumur and 15 miles west of Chinon. The Château itself is an impressive sight, with its 18th-century Mansard roof and octagonal tower topped by a boar-headed weathercock, from which the domaine takes its name - an hureau is an old, solitary wild boar. Behind the Château sits the winery, which was carved out of the limestone cliffs in the 13th century and overlooks the Loire river. For wine lovers, the cave is even more impressive than the Château, with numerous paths leading to carved out caverns housing stainless steel vinification equipment and lines of barrels. It reminds one of being in a James Bond movie! Seventeen hectares (42 acres) including 21 separate vineyard plots are spread around the towns of Dampierre-sur-Loire, Souzay, Champigny and Saumur and are planted with Cabernet Franc. What links all of the plots is "tuffeau" (tufa/limestone), a kind of soft chalk from the Cretaceous period (146 to 65 million years ago). In Latin "creta" means chalk. The underlying tuffeau is the defining factor in Saumur-Champigny's distinctive quality, and it also provides the name for this beautiful red.
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