Day 123 of 400: Loire Valley and Sancerre – France

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After a breakfast of fresh breads and croissants with jam and yogurt we started our trip through Sancerre and the small villages in the area. We wanted to of course taste the wine from this region as well.

We let ourselves get lost in the hills, driving on the narrow streets between vines until we saw a sign for degustacion which means tasting. We pulled around the tractor and into the driveway. A Frenchman came out from the back to pour us a few tastes of both their white and red wines. We were not so impressed but enjoyed the experience.

Back in the car, we found a place our B&B had recommended, Domaine du Carrou Dominique Roger Vigneron (www.dominique-roger.fr/index.php). It was a stone house and the cellar was decorated with old wine farming tools. There were boxes of wine waiting to be shipped and a room of barrels aging wine. In the back were the large silver tanks also used for wine and a bottling machine in the middle with two men hard at work while they bottled and corked wine to be sold.

Dominique himself came in to greet us. He spoke a little English and was able to explain how he makes his wines and what made each vintage different from the next as the three of us smelled, twirled and tasted. We bought a couple of bottles, exchanged information and continued on our way.

We found the center village area of Sancerre. We walked into one of the main squares which had a few restaurants, shops and a very large château overlooking the vineyards. We parked and went to a cute place for lunch, Auberge Joseph Mellot’s (www.josephmellot.com/Index_uk.swf). The front of the restaurant was all glass windows and had about six tables before opening up into the larger portion of the restaurant. We ordered a glass of white wine since they were also a wine maker. We both had the prix fix menu-smoked salmon to start and Giff had an omelette for his main dish and I had a fillet of fish. The daughter who is now the owner came out to greet us and have us try a wine we had not ordered. The business had been her grandmother’s who handed it down to her mother who handed it down to her. She has a son who will be next and he is now the manager of the restaurant.

After lunch we walked about a block to find a small wine tasting shop that had also been referred to us by the B&B. The women inside spoke great English and quickly pulled out many bottles for tasting. She educated us on where different wines were coming from (pointing at the map) and explained to us how the different soils in the regions have such impact on the taste in this area.

After about an hour or so of our wine lesson we stopped in a bakery for some cookies and took a short walk along the back of the village to see the sweeping view of the valley. Once back in the car we drove around a bit more getting out to walk into the vineyards for fun pictures.

We got back to our place, cleaned up and then went to a restaurant called La Pomme d’Or. Thankfully, Elisabeth had made a reservation for us because the restaurant was small and quaint and turning people down whom didn’t have a reservation.

They gave us a nice big table in the back and we could hear opera music coming from the kitchen. The menu was a multiple-course meal. Giff started with smoked salmon followed by veal and I started with a fish ceviche followed by Sautéed fish and that was followed by a cheese course for both of us…I had all goat cheese and he had all cow cheese and we shared which by the way the French eat with a fork…no bread.   Finally dessert…one was sorbet and fresh berries and the other an assortment of cake and ice-cream. All of this food was of course served with wine – one bottle of white and one bottle of red.

Extremely satisfied, we went home to bed.

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