The vines at Châteauneuf de Saint Martin in Marmoutier. Originally from Pannonia in Hungary, Saint Martin was in the Roman Legion before converting and becoming first Bishop of Tours. He brought from his country the very first chenin plant and was thus at the origin of the Loire valley’s vineyards. In the fourth century, Saint Martin was a highly solicited super star. He would hide in a cave on the hillsides of Vouvray in Marmoutier, some distance from Tours, so that he could meditate.
The Abbey of Marmoutier was erected after his death in 397. Archaeological digs in the grounds show amazing remains of the Gothic Benedictine church from the twelfth century, which was 127 metres long and as famous as Cluny. From the tower, Urban II would preach in favour of the Crusades. Leonardo da Vinci’s body lays at rest in the Basilica Saint Martin in Tours. The Tours Tourist Office proposes an fascinating guided visit . The Vigneau Chevreau estate still grows a vine on the hill top and develops a Saint Martin vintage at the Clos de Rougemont.