Fontenay’s Medal-winning rosé

March 21, 2010

There’s something for everyone to taste in the chalet-style tasting room next-door to Château de Fontenay at Bléré on the river Cher: reds and rosés from cabernet, cot (the south’s malbec) and grolleau, sweet white chenins, bone dry sauvignons, sparkling chardonnays… The dry rosé – Les Garennes 2008 – won a gold medal at Macon last year and it’s available at the end of this month. 

After a wine tasting there’s lots to do along the valley of the Cher. In Bléré there’s an award-winning cheese maker (one of the best in France), and there are many small farms nearby where you can buy meat, eggs and vegetables ‘at the gate’. For more energetic pursuits, you can take part in harvest days, go hiking or a take a pleasant bike ride along the towpath to the beautiful renaissance château of Chenonceaux; as you reach your destination, the view from the river is spell-binding. 

Château de Fontenay le Rosé des Garennes 2008 Touraine 

A perfect example of the dry Touraine style – an intense pink robe with orange tints revealing aromas of red fruits, plum blossom and broom. Propped-up by a full, fruity mouthful of pleasure, this medal winner is the consummate accompaniment to summertime barbecues.

To book a room – or a gite – at Fontenay, click here for details…

Staying in French Wine Country

October 25, 2009

Jancis Robinson is a fan of Anne Gros’s wines; fabulous Burgundy Grand Crus.  Anne has an immaculate contemporary guesthouse called La Colombière in the heart of the village of Vosne-Romanée. “I tried to book there for my tasting trip to Burgundy in late November,” Jancis writes in her excellent website, “and she was already fully booked.”  Anne’s place is popular with wine buyers and journalists, holidaymakers and winemakers; make sure you book early!


To read Jancis Robinson’s notes on the book – French Vineyards – click here.

For full details of staying at La Colombière – click here.

Epi oinopa ponton

October 8, 2008
Four hundred hectares of pine and cyprus covered hillsides between the beaches of Narbonne and the peaks of La Clape form the estate of Jacques and Dominique Boscary. Jacques’s grandfather Henri Lapierre acquired the property in 1942 and, after the liberation, began the restoration and replanting of the many small vineyards that thrive in this extraordinary landscape overlooking the wine-dark Mediterranean sea. A variety of different soil types and topographies give rise to several different terroirs and the healthy vines are cultivated using the very best natural methods. Roots sink deep into the hard, pale limestone massif of La Clape and three-thousand hours of sunshine per year and cooling sea breezes produce the perfect ripening conditions for the fruit. Jacques’s wines are rightly celebrated (over 200 awards since 1975) and this year he won the Decanter regional trophy for his top cuvée ‘L’Absolu’. The Château contains three beautiful gîtes; this is a fabulous holiday destination – minutes from the beaches, miles of well-maintained paths through the high, herb scented garrigue and within easy reach of the city of Narbonne. Guests are made to feel very welcome – the Boscary’s genuine friendliness is shared by the whole of the team.
Château Rouquette sur Mer, Route Bleue, Narbonne Plage  



Cycling in the Côte de Nuits

July 10, 2008

Open your arms to change but never let go of your values

July 8, 2008
Tucked behind the town hall in the busy Burgundian village of Vosne Romanée is the maison d’hôtes of winemaker Anne Gros.  Each room, named after one of Anne’s vineyards, has its own personality; choose, for example, the muted and minimalist Les Moines for quite contemplation or the mandarin and limestone Les Loachausse whose wacky recycled sculptures are a hoot.  If you get the chance to buy some of Anne’s excellent grands crus then go for it – demand often outstrips supply.  A visit to the beautiful cellars is a treat as is a bicycle ride up to Anne’s parcelle of vines at the Clos de Vougeot.
Domaine Anne Gros, Vosne Romanée.