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Please share your favorite LOIRE Valley wine caves or wine estate experiences!

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Jan 18th, 2005, 08:42 AM
  #1
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Please share your favorite LOIRE Valley wine caves or wine estate experiences!

Hi Gang,

Taking a daytrip to Chenonceau (from Paris) in June. Were deciding on stopping at a wine cave after seeing the castle.

What are your recommendations for wine caves nearby (Vouvray? Chinon?)

My husband and I prefer red wines over whites generally BUT we do love champagne (sparkling Vouvray?)

Also, do we have to make recommendations to tour estates and do tastings? If so, how far in advance.

Thank you for your time!
--Betty
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Jan 18th, 2005, 08:48 AM
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Vouvray has some nice caves to tour and taste (indeed, whites and sparkling whites). I liked Samaur with the huge caves under the city. But it's a ways from Tours/Vouvray.

One of the things we found to be the most fun was just pulling into some of the private vintners (with the degaustation sign) and tasting with the actual wine maker, or his son. Our communications, with their meager English and our meager French was interesting but memorable!

Have fun!
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Jan 18th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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In Angers and Saumur, we stopped in at their Maisons du Vin. You can taste (for free) many wines from local products; make a note of your favorites and then visit the winery or buy it right at the Maison du Vin. We like Saumur Champigny and from Chinon, the Couly-Dutheuil winery (their main store is right acros the street from the Chinon castle; they also have a store in Azay-le-Rideau.
Chenonceau itself has a winery and we thought their table white was not bad; light and refreshing. We didn't get to try the other Chenonceau wines as their wine shop was closed.
Pick up a bottle of Pousse Rapiere while you're in the area--a popular cocktail in the region is Pousse Rapiere mixed with white wine. Pousse Rapiere is hard to find outside France.
However, will you have enough time to do Chenonceau and a winery on a single day trip? Sounds like a two-day excursion to me.
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Jan 18th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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If you prefer red wines, Vouvray is not ideal since all the wines made there are whites. The sparkling wines, as you say, are very good. I recommend Aubert in the Vallée Coquette at Vouvray.

If you can get there, the reds at the Confrérie des Vignerons de Oisly et de Thésée, near the town of Contres south of Blois, has good red wines.

The best reds in the Loire are made in Chinon and Bourgeuil, west of Tours. (Chenonceaux is east of Tours.)
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Jan 18th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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I'll second BTilke's recommendation of the Couly-Dutheuil winery/store down the hill from Chinon castle...but brush up on your French first. My wife and I had a hard time communicating with our limited vocabulary.

We stayed a few miles from there, at Manoir de la Giraudiere, which is itself a small working winery. A terrific, if somewhat rustic, experience for us. Not sure I'd recommend their wine wholeheartedly, but we loved the restaurant.
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Jan 18th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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BTilke,

Well we were thinking of renting a car and leaving Paris for Chenonceau pretty early in the morning. (Not sure how long we would be at the castle, but thought we could catch a winery in the late afternoon and end up in Blois for dinner.

Is this too ambitious? (That's why I wanted to find a wine cave not too far from Chenonceau...or atleast en route from Chenonceau to Blois.)

Cheers,
Betty
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Jan 18th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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By the way, thanks to ckenb, Grasshopper and Mr. Go, for your responses.

How far is the Couly-Dutheuil winery (Chinon) from Chenonceau? Are reservations needed for tastings/tours?

--Betty
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Jan 18th, 2005, 09:05 AM
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Consider taking the TGV to Tours and renting a car there for the day. You'll save a lot of time.
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Jan 18th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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Thanks, Grasshopper. Great idea!
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Jan 18th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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By the way, how long is the TGV trip from Paris to Tours?
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Jan 18th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Betty, I just looked on raileurope.com and it says 1 hour and 10 minutes. I think it took us at least 3 to drive.
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Jan 19th, 2005, 02:07 PM
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Thanks, Grasshopper! It seems many people are discouraging me from doing the car rental thing in and out of Paris (to Loire Valley). IS DRIVING IN AND OUT OR PARIS THAT BAD?
It seems an extra hassle to have to take a train to Tours or Chartres-- just to rent a car from those towns, especially since you don't really seem to save any money on car rental outside of Paris.
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Feb 15th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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Betty --

You asked in this thread about wineries between Chenonceaux and Blois. One good one is the Confrérie des Vignerons de Oisly et Thésée, located in the village of Oisly about 20 miles south of Blois. There are also many wineries in the villages of Angé, Pouillé, and Mareuil-sur-Cher, along the Cher River 10 to 15 miles east of Chenonceaux. Blois is 25 miles north of the Cher River.
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Feb 15th, 2005, 08:33 AM
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Thank you, Ken! I am counting the days to this trip (June)...very exciting.

I wonder how the "traffic" will be in the area around that time. Will try to pick scenic roads and hopefully will not get TOO LOST.

Definitely will note this winery.

All the best,
Betty
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Feb 15th, 2005, 10:50 PM
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There is no significant traffic here once you get 5 miles or so from Tours. Even Tours traffic is minor, in my experience.
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