French Wine Tour Tips

Jan 14th, 2015, 04:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 67
French Wine Tour Tips

Hi Travelers!

Miranda Mouillot, author of "A Fifty-Year Silence," recently put together a list of tips for wine tours around France. Apart from her own thoughts, she gathered those from winemakers and restaurateurs.

So that got me thinking, do you have any wine tour tips that you'd like to share?

Emily_D is offline  
Jan 14th, 2015, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Emily, a better list than most. I think call ahead is a "maybe" often it just drags staff away from something else to answer the phone. I'd prefer to turnup in the opening times or just go with the flow.

I like the bit about "buy wine", actually I'd replace it with "buy something". If you don't like the wine that is the purpose of the tasting (it may hurt the family but it is honest) however, you should buy something to recompense them for their time. Glasses, drip stops etc are a good back-up.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 14th, 2015, 05:19 AM
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Just some other thoughts
1) wash, (no really, some people)
2) don't spray yourself with aluring scents, smoke cigars, cigs or vape.
3) clean your teeth way before you start tasting
4) do spit the wine out, amazing how good many wines taste after a couple of glasses
5) Merchants say" sell on cheese and buy on apples" so don't get suckered into eating cheese before you taste. If in doubt a little acid apple before hand makes the wine work harder
6) If you are offered a tas vin for the tasting ask for a glass
7) wonder why the tasting is taking place in a murky dark tasting room with the smell of mould around rather than a more logical place
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 14th, 2015, 08:55 AM
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PalenQ is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 04:12 AM
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no one else? after Fodors went to the trouble
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 04:37 AM
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I'll bite bilbo. I think that article gives pretty good advice. I would add that it's also OK to just drop in if you happen to be passing by a wine producer. I do this in the Champagne region where the producer's "office" is just their own personal home. Sure, I've interrupted people having lunch but if they're around and not busy I have yet to be refused. I also learned about the Bistrot de Pays network from that article, which I think is an excellent dining reference for rural areas.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 06:16 AM
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Thanks FMT.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 20th, 2015, 06:42 AM
Original Poster
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Thank you for the great tips!
Emily_D is offline  
Jan 20th, 2015, 08:24 AM
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Don't be afraid to just call in to a small producer. If they're available they're usually delighted to see you and to discuss their wines.

The problem with "calling ahead" is knowing where you are going. Some of the best wines I've found have been when we were meandering between vineyards and growers and I prefer to be "Let's try here" about where to stop.

Even if I don't enjoy a wine, I will buy at least a bottle. It will taste completely different with the right food and at the right time.

I know it's an obvious thing to say, but don't try lots of wine and keep driving. Taste properly and eject if you're getting back behind the wheel, it's very easy to exceed the limit.
Rubicund is offline  
Jan 20th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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i only just found this so may I be excused for my late arrival?

I have to say that we have never phoned ahead and have always found more than enough places to visit, wherever we are. ok, perhaps not the top-notch vineyards but we are normally looking to buy, so there's no point in tasting what we can't afford.

We were a bit disappointed to find that in NZ quite a lot of places charged for tasting, but they did offer refunds if you then bought something. and the amounts were somewhat bigger than you usually get [free] in Europe. Tis have nice maps showing you where the wineries are, which ones offer food [some have proper restaurants, others just offer cheese and charcuterie] and other details.

Perhaps I'm out of date but I've not really come across that with european vineyards. Most wine areas there also have a couple of companies offering mini-bus &/or bike tours of a number of wineries but we felt that we wanted to do it ourselves. The disadvantage was that one of us had to be the designated driver - we took turns, obviously.

is there anything like that on offer in France?
annhig is offline  
Jan 21st, 2015, 03:30 AM
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annhig, I'm sure that most wine growing regions have a similar service, usually based in the main town for the region. The problem is that they take you where THEY want and probably where growers have paid them to have you stop there.

If you're ever in the Beaujolais region south of Macon, try driving through the villages or areas where the 10 Beaujolais Cru's are made. We stayed at a hotel called Les Maritonnes (opposite DuBoeuf's place) and spent a couple of days exploring and marvelling at how the same grape could taste so different 3 miles up the road. We found Bertolli's who make the best Moulin a Vent I'd ever tasted, but without any of the show at his place.

We followed a small sign on the road and found ourselves in his winery. He came out, took us into what looked like a Nissen hut and we tasted half a dozen wines. We bought 3 cases!
Rubicund is offline  
Jan 21st, 2015, 07:16 AM
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thanks for the tip, Rubicund. one day, I hope.
annhig is offline  

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