Wine Tasting in Loire Valley?

Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 02:12 PM
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Wine Tasting in Loire Valley?

Does anyone know of a good website to investigate wine tasting opportunities in the Loire Valley? I think I've read that you cannot just drop by a winery to taste wine as you can in ,say, Napa Valley.
We would like to find one or two wineries to go to if anyone has suggestions. We do not particularly want to go on a wine-tasting "tour". We will have a car.
Also, I read that some small villages may have wine tastings for several wineries in an inn or bar in town. Does anyone know of this?
I would appreciate any input. We're going counterclockwise from Paris through Normandy and then Loire Valley back to Paris. Thanks!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 02:16 PM
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There are wineries where you can taste. They have a sign that says "degaustation". They can be big or small family run wineries. There are also wine shops where you can do tastings.

We enjoyed tasting Vin de Vouvray in wine caves just outside of the town of Vouvray and a great tour of the underground caves in Samaur with a tasting at the end. We also stopped at small family wineries where one of the family took us out to a garage type room in the back to taste and purchase wines. Those were were really interesting because we were language challenged.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 02:23 PM
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Vouvray is very near Tours, by the way. Vouvray is known for its white wines.

In summer there are sometimes special days (generally on weekends) where wineries open their doors for tastings in towns. Always check with tourist information about this. Tourist information in Tours is especially good for the entire region.

The wineries are generally accessible only by car. Hope you are not designated as the driver!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 02:29 PM
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hi, sandy

ditto what grasshopper said. there are "caves" in and around saumur and amboise for example, and i seem to remember a tasting shop right in the middle of amboise. just look for a sign "degustation" or "Vente Vins".

incidentally, the word "caves" means both a place where wines can be tasted and, in the loire at least, a real cave, cut into the tufa. the temperature is cool and constant and therefore ideal for wines.

don't forget that there are drink driving laws in France - a few sips in each place soon mount up!

have a great trip,

regards, ann
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Here's a website to wet your whistle. Lots of contact information there if you want to email these vintners about a visit: http://www.wineterroirs.com/2003/01/loire.html

Don't overlook the Chinons (it's not all about whites).

And yes, French police do not have to have probably cause to pull you over and make you blow into the balloon.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 02:48 PM
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Thanks y'all...that is exactly the info that I was looking for. Would you recommend Amboise as a good place to spend a couple of nights? We'll be coming from Bayeux.

And, yes we will definitely have a DD - I'm just hoping it won't be me! Maybe we'll draw straws. Thanks for reminder though.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 02:48 PM
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Thanks y'all...that is exactly the info that I was looking for. Would you recommend Amboise as a good place to spend a couple of nights? We'll be coming from Bayeux.

And, yes we will definitely have a DD - I'm just hoping it won't be me! Maybe we'll draw straws. Thanks for reminder though.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 03:09 PM
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If you turn out to be the DD, nothing to prevent you from buying a bottle and enjoying it in your hotel room later.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 03:14 PM
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Yes, Amboise is a good choice as a base.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 03:05 AM
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hi Lauren

we stayed in both Saumur and Amboise. I prefer Saumur but Amboise is nice too - just a bit more touristy, IMHO.

regards, ann
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 04:45 AM
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I should avoid Amboise and the hoards of tourists that inexplicably migrate there like moths around a flickering flame. This once charming town has been inundated with bus loads of curiosity seekers to which local commerce has now targeted its marketing muscle selling trinkets and promoting good restaurants at prices one should expect of excellent ones. The château itself has been largely dismantled, its stone sold for profit by a greedy previous owner.

Certainly we should suggest a more imaginative base choice:

1. The Cheval Blanc in the small village of Bléré, between Chenonceau and Tours. Bléré is much quieter and less touristy than Amboise. Its Michelin one-rosette hotel restaurant is excellent and very good value.

www.lechevalblancblere.com

2. Personally I enjoy staying in the center of Tours, it's central to all of the châteaux of the valley and there are plenty of restaurants, cafés, museums, and shopping for everyone's taste. There are a number of chambres d'hotes (B&Bs) in Tours as well as outside of town.

For a complete list of area's lodging possibilities, check here:

http://www.ligeris.com/

My favorite hotel in Tours is (with free parking):
Hotel du Manoir :
2, rue Traversière

http://site.voila.fr/hotel.manoir.tours


3. Between Blois and Tours
Auberge de Launay
in a beautiful setting and a wonderful restaurant
http://www.aubergedelaunay.com/

4. Hostel du Roy
in Chenonceaux
http://www.hostelduroy.com/

5. la Ferme des Berthiers
just south of tour in a very homey setting
http://www.lafermedesberthiers.fr/


For a truly unique wine tasting experience, contact Phillipe Oudin and ask to visit his winery and cave. The cave was itself an important source of limestone used in the construction of many of the areas famous châteaux. I find particularly interesting his Cabernet Franc selections:

http://cavegrandebrosse.com/
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 07:22 AM
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We visited the Monmousseau.com winery in Montrichard, a little southeast of Amboise, last September. If you can find a tourism pack called <i>Kit Voyageur</i>, it contains a coupon for a free bottle of bubbly at the end of your tour.

Our kit was given to us by our hostess at chateaudelanoue.com (which I highly recommend, by the way). Maybe you can get one from

Gites de France de Touraine
38, rue Augustin Fresnel - BP 50139
37171 Chambray-les-Tours
gites-touraine.com
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 07:49 AM
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I second the recommendation for Le Cheval Blanc in Bl&eacute;r&eacute;. One of my all-time favorite restaurants in France.

I absolutely disagree about staying in Tours. Ugly place overall, and the traffic getting in and out is frightful.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:02 PM
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I had the impression that Le Cheval Blanc had closed down. It must have changed hands because it no longer has a Michelin star or any forks in the latest viaMichelin listings.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:12 PM
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Oh no, that's terrible news!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:27 PM
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You might want to consider staying in a chateau. We stayed in Chateau de Jallenges, just outside of Vouvray and it was a fun experience. http://www.jallanges.com/chambres-d-hotes,1,1,6.php
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 04:07 PM
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An update on Le Cheval Blanc:

This hotel/restaurant changed hands in early 2008 with the long-time owners retiring. Under the new owners, (H&eacute;l&egrave;ne et Fabrice Tavernier) the service is reportedly much more efficient but their culinary reputation is yet to be established. During the week (Tuesday to Friday) two courses (entr&eacute;e and main dish) are €22 with a €7 supplement for dessert. Despite a change of owners, I still find this location worth considering as a place to base oneself.

As an added possibility to base oneself in the Touraine, near Chenonceaux:

Le Bon Laboureur
http://www.bonlaboureur.com/
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 05:00 PM
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A few years ago when I was at the Chateau d'Angers in Angers directly across the street from the Chateau there was a small wine shop that handled most of the wines of the area ( vin d'Anjou). I purchased a few bottles of Coteaux du Layon and they seemed to have a good selection of other wines and if I remember correctly they allowed you to taste.
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Old Mar 4th, 2009, 07:14 AM
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Fabulous suggestions - I will check them out. Thanks everyone!
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 08:56 PM
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Sandy,

Your trip sounds wonderful visiting Normandie and the Loire, I hope it's not too late to respond. We stayed at the Chateau de Rochecotte west of Tours about 5 years ago and it was lovely. The rooms spacious, the food wonderful and the staff could not have been better. We experienced difficult traffic in and around Tours so I would not choose to stay there.

Last year we based ourselves in Amboise at Le Vieux Manoir. We loved this inn and enjoyed Amboise very much. When we arrived at Le Vieux Manoir in the early evening our hosts Gloria and Bob Belknap invited us down to the cave for a wine tasting. Philippe who owns a wineshop in Amboise (I am pretty sure it was called Millesime) provided the wines and commentary with translation by Gloria. I am not sure how often this is offered at the inn but it was perfect. Before leaving town we visited the shop to purchase gifts to take home.

I hope you will post your adventures when you return.

Scootoir
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