Reigny is one of those sleepy little villages folded into the manicured French countryside that you see in adverts for fizzy lager or Claude Berri films. Thanks in part to the healthy business of producing top-notch Sancerre wines, Reigny is thriving and luckily the film companies haven’t discovered it yet. Spread about the village are the ancient buildings of the Domaine des Caves du Prieuré, home to three generations of the Guillerault family. Pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela once stopped here – a fitting place therefore for a modern-day chambre d’hôte. The family home is a hundred metres or so from the cellars, which are also disconnected from the old Priory buildings that give the domaine its name. For those staying at the Priory this means walking to breakfast along the winding village lanes – what better way to begin a day? In the main house Geneviève has converted two more bedrooms above the dining room where breakfast and dinner are served. Here you eat with your hosts beneath a huge arched window – did I detect the typical aroma of agrumes on the nose of the Sancerre blanc or was it the scent of lemons growing in the little courtyard outside? For a more studious tasting, Geneviève shows her guests to the cellars and tasting room where she serves a taste the green-gold wines at a wide zinc-topped bar. A large scallop shell adorns the wine label – not a handy hint for matching these wines to suitable seafood dishes but a reference to the property’s links to the old pilgrims’ way. The whites, however, do go very well with seafood: the citrusy Sancerre ‘classique’ with fruits de mer or oysters, the complex Chassenoys with cooked white fish is a fine sauce, the oak aged Facétie with lobster… The Guilleraults also produce a very pretty red Sancerre which Madame suggests drinking with the local Crottin de Chavignol goat’s cheese or the classic Burgundy poached egg dish oeufs en meurette. “That’s what the posh Burgundian’s call it”, she tells me. “We just call it couilles d’âne!” Well, I’m afraid to say that I knew already that this translates as ‘donkey’s balls’.
Moulin de Reigny, Domaine des Caves du Prieuré, Reigny, Crézancy-en-Sancerre 02.48.79.01.74