A real surprise after following the signs for Chambres d’Hôtes through a modern housing development – you arrive at an ancient walled clos and immediately feel like you’ve found the right place. Young family members and pets abound and your arrival will not go unannounced – next follows an enthusiastic welcome from hosts Olivier and Catherine and an aperitif in the 19th century walled gardens currently being restored. We compare two Anjou rouges from the same vintage but from different grape varieties – one a Cabernet Franc, the other a Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s this kind of comparative tasting that really gives you a feel for the natural characteristics of a region’s wine. Both are good: the Cab Franc has a likeable blackberry fruit and a clean but stiff palate, the Cab Sauv is softer and full of spice and blackcurrant. The bed & breakfast rooms are in an annex to the grand house in converted barns. Inside it’s all oak beams and colour washed walls, outside it’s stone walls, a cute cupola, ancient (original) statuary and even a little grotto among a shady, wooded garden full of the colours and scents of the season. Young vines line up in the nursery next to a newly planted mixed orchard – the vines used for wine production are a few kilometres from the property. The winery and cellars are also elsewhere but Olivier shows off his produce in an impressive tasting room under the guest accommodation. He’ll take you to the winery too if you want. There is also a secret garden with a ‘victorian’ moated folly.
Domaine des Chesnaies, La Noue, Denée www.domainedeschesnaies.com 02.41.78.79.80