10 August 2009



On Sunday evening we ate at Chez Grand Ma in the village. We talked about what we would do for our last day and a half and Jackie thought she would like to see a château and do some wine tasting.

So, on Monday we set off towards Chinon, aiming in the general direction of Cravant les Coteaux and Baudry Dutour. Unfortunately, girls being girls, we had a slow get up in the morning, there was lots of gossip to get through and fresh croissants to be fetched and eaten at the leisurely pace they deserve. Consequently, we arrived chez Baudry Dutour just as they closed for lunch. Actually I have a suspicion they had scived off for the whole day.

No problem, the road through Cravant is wall-to-wall wine makers so we stopped at the first one that looked open and swooped. We came out with a half-dozen mixed bottles between us. Fairly restrained wine shopping for me, I must say.

Jackie was keen to try some sparkling wines so we went to Gratien and Meyer. This company has fabulous premises with spectacular views overlooking the Loire river. Very smart and sophisticated.

Nick and I had done the tour of the cave a few years ago, where they demonstrate the way the sparkling wine is made and stress endlessly that it is "méthod traditionelle". In other words, it is made in exactly the same way as champagne with similar results but they can't call it champagne because the vineyards are in the wrong part of France.

This time, I thought the wines were a bit more pricey than they used to be but we enjoyed our tasting and bought a few bottles. Jackie looked very happy indeed. Maybe this was because I was driving and she was doing most of the "degustation".

We then headed for the château we had chosen to see, Montreuil-Bellay. En route we called at Ackerman as we thought we might just need a few more bottles of bubbly.

(Ackerman's own advertisement for X NOIR)

They now do a sparkling rosé in a very girly bottle. Now I know you shouldn't choose wine just because the label is pretty but it just had to be done. (I only bought one, in case the label was the only thing to commend it.)

There had been changes at Montreuil-Bellay since our last visit, too. Unfortunately there was scaffolding around some of the buildings but nevertheless it is still a beautiful place. We skipped the hour-long guided tour (in French) as we didn't feel we had the stamina for that but it was lovely to wander round the château and gardens in the sunshine. And, guess what, they do their own wine too - so we were able to taste some more.

Back on the little terrace of our cottage, we had dinner at home and chatted away through the sunset. The evening was still and warm and we were entertained by the swallows swirling overhead. Then suddenly, as if someone had flipped a switch, they disappeared and the Grand-Pressigny bat formation team came out. The rooftop view is just wonderful in the evening light.

Tuesday morning came all too soon but luckily our flight wasn't until 5 pm so we had a fair chunk of the day to enjoy. We went to Loches for lunch, via Le Louroux to collect Nick's present.

We had had a lovely time. The weekend had started with drizzly rain but warmed up to 32°C and sunshine. Even the return trip courtesy of Ryanair didn't seem so bad having had such a great time to remember.


  1. Hello darling, I'm home!

    Why am I so jealous? Jackie looks like she had a great time also while Mike and I slaved away earning your keep - maybe we're due a boy's adventure.

    Can't wait to see my present and hear those LGP bells again.

    By the way, when do we get the next buying a house in France installment?


  2. The next installment will come when I can work out where I had got to and remember what happened next ! You boys are welcome to have a weekend in LGP so long as you promise to do ALL the washing up before you leave. !!

  3. And is the Ackerman Rose good?
    I love following your adventures!

  4. Elizabethd - I haven't tried it yet! It's stashed in our cellar in France and I'm looking forward to it. Nick is not one to be impressed just by a pretty label so I will let you know what we both think.
    (BTW our cellar is nothing fancy - more like a hole in the earth under the unused part of the house with some rickety shelves in it !!)

  5. The cellar may not be fancy, but at least its pleasantly stuffed!

  6. Can't wait to hear those LGP bells again either. Unfortunately will not be back there again until 26th so hopefully see you then - bonnes vacances!

    Gail x

  7. Hi Gail, we'll still be there when you arrive. Lulu will be with us, too.
    (Two whole weeks in LGP - hooray !!)

  8. Have a great holiday and a fun time in France. Wish I could be there too! Martine