Sancerre

Dreamy the old wine village lays at the top of the hill. The slopes, once push up by the wet umbilical cord of France, the Loire, were traditionally planted with Pinot Noir. When, at the end of the 19th century, the phylloxera plague brought that race to its knees, the farmers filled their now empty vineyards with Sauvignon Blanc instead. At the moment there are, devided over 2500 hectares vineyards, 14 villages who can write the AOC Sancerre on their label.

vignes

we once again have a mouth full of the same minerally Sancerre that we had last night. Hmm… lovely! Defying the speed cameras we speed up a little.

But what does the pearl of the crown of the French wine cities, what does the world renowned birthplace of the Sauvignon Blanc, what does the community Sancerre organize when there’s something to celebrate?

FeteBiere
Exactly! A beer festival!
Hotel

We settle in Hotel du Rempart. More French than this hotel is pretty much impossible.

Hotelkamer

There’s such a strong fifties brothel atmosphere in the small, stuffy room, that even the sink can’t stay hard.

Hotelkamer2

The room is covered in an azure insane asylum wallpaper. Generations of anonymous hotel guests have wiped their hands, or worse, on it. The acoustics make your voice sound as if it comes from really close by, like it might sound if you were locked in your own body.

Licht

The creative justification from the light architect is hard to fathom: did he choose for form or function?

VatEetzaal

The window offers a view of a wine barrel that has been thrown out of it by an unhappy guest.

  The dining room is a glorious example of French stupidity, it’s a joy to consider eating there.
And a luxury to leave it at a consideration…

LaTour

Because having dinner in Sancerre, that you do a lot better in Restaurant La Tour.
We were treated to a starter of risotto with ruccola, haddock and parmigiano, followed by the rentrée of crunchy cooked vegetables spread out in a colourful pattern (‘Arlequin’), a main course of cod with anchovies and candied lemon, a cheese cart the size of a box trailer and two luxuriously good desserts that were eaten till the last crumble. And all this for the price of a primark sweater that’s on sale.

Schuim

It is a pity that the chef decided to put the washing up liquid on the plates before we’d even eaten a single bite.

Sommelier
But the sommelier managed to get us out from under the table by giving us a healthy splash of a red Menetou-Salon: 'Celestin' from Bertrand Minchin. The best red wine from the Loire that we’ve ever tasted. 100% Pinot Noir, which is oaked for 3 months. The next day, the first thing we did was visit him. But he guards his wine like a father guards his teenage daughter. He didn’t want to sell a single bottle. Every once in a while you can find it in a restaurant. Which is reason enough for us to immediately book a table.
Desserts

No lorries in front of it but it is an adresse!

Restaurant La Tour - 31 Nouvelle Place, 18300 Sancerre. Téléphone: +33 2 48 54 00 81
Take a look: www.la-tour-sancerre.fr

leegstand

 

 

If you like ghost towns then Sancerre is a must: nothing to do, no one on the streets. Wonderful!

For a trifle you buy an old grocery store. ‘That’s what I have to do,’ is what you’ll think. ‘Buy it! Start a whole new life. Clean up the shop and restore it, decorate it nicely and then sell some cozy product to the nonexistent customers…’

Immo

Or a nice detached farmhouse ‘à renover’ for an incredible 50,000 euro.

 

Or for a little more, half a village with its own little river…

 

Wow! What a gigantic medieval fairy tale house for absolutely nothing!

Plein

But first we’ll get something to eat. At 09:00 we have breakfast on a terrace situated on the deserted market square. Besides ourselves there is no sign of human life.

 

The view consists of the only market stall.
The owner of it has also made himself scarce and found a warm place to hold up.


Kaart

It seems that the continuous silence has driven the baker to insanity; he started banking the weirdest things into his baguettes, like this cut off wine twig.

 

But we won’t let ourselves be derailed by this emptiness; our destination remains unchanged: the source of the juiciest Sancerre of the Sancerre, Château Maimbray, in the little hamlet of Sury-en-Vaux Allez, on y va

CaveC

Normally we always check out the local coopérative first because sometimes you can find really good wines at very pleasant prices. But sadly they weren’t in the mood for tourists.

Cave des Vins de Sancerre Société Coopérative - Avenue de Verdun, 18300 Sancerre
Téléphone +33 2 48 54 19 24, Téléfax +33 2 48 54 16 44
infos@vins-sancerre.com, www.vins-sancerre.com


Sury

As usual in my life, everything was going my way: the Château was indicated and the wineboer was at home.

Dodenakker

But gee! What’s that!? What is it I see there in the distance?
The vineyards of the best Sancerre of the Sancerre region are situated around the graveyard!

dodenakker2

A dead mans field full of deceased wineboers, surrounded by thousands vines desperate for food.

Opa

The whole livelong day old Georges sits in his usual spot in the wine cellar. He doesn’t take his eyes of his son Francis for even a moment. When we explain that we’re there to buy wine he becomes a little more enthusiastic. ‘Here…’ he crows and points with his cane around the corner of the door, ‘… is where my best red wines come from! A sparkling dark red colour!'

 

I look and right I was: Georges’ best vineyard is right next to the graveyard. It has to be that the extremely hungry roots of the surrounding vines wring themselves though and underneath the wall where they enjoy a taste of their former masters and his colleagues. The farmer drinks the wine and the wine drinks the farmer. The circle is complete.

‘Francis!’ the old man snapped at his son. ‘Pour this gentleman a glass of rouge du cimetière!’

Proeven

The taste is… I’d almost say ‘distinct…’: fruity, berry-ish with a hit of funeral wreath and Onychomycosis. Still, we decided to go for a box of white from a slope on the otherside of the château.

Chateau de Maimbray Domaine Georges Roblin et Fils, 18300 Sury-en-Vaux
Téléphone +33 899 65 64 78, Téléfax +33 2 48 79 31 34


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