09 May 2009

Open house at the wine co-op

With our American friends who live in Scotland, yesterday morning we drove up to Saint-Romain-sur-Cher, a wine village just 10 minutes north of Saint-Aignan. The wine producers' cooperative up there is having its annual open house, celebrating the release of the 2008 vintage. People were stocking up, because during the event you get a good discount on your wine purchases.

There was a pretty good crowd, and I was glad to see it. We had a interesting and informative tasting. Most people in attendance seemed to be buying half-cases or many liters of wine in bulk. There was room for us at the tasting table. We sampled a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc that was soft and smooth, which I liked. Then we tasted two 2008 Sauvignons, one more tart than the other, and both more tart and aggressive than the 2007.

The Saint-Romain co-op is one of my favorite places to buy wine. Officially, the organization is called La Cave des Vignerons des Coteaux Romanais. Here's the web site. The man who poured wines for us, a local grape-grower, said the co-op has a membership of about 30 wine producers. He told us that they export quite a bit of wine to Germany, and that they are making special wines for that market. The Germans and the French have different tastes in wine, he said.

These women were selling goat cheeses, white asparagus,
and Gariguette strawberries at the co-op.

As part of the open house, local farmers set up stands and sell their products at the co-op. I bought strawberries and asparagus, as well as a couple of goat cheeses. Plus a few liters of Chardonnay and a few bottles of a 2007 Côt that's very good. The grape called Côt in the Loire Valley is called Malbec in the New World. Argentina produces a lot of Malbec wine.

When I was buying the asparagus, another man in line asked me how many bunches I was planning to get. I said two. "Perfect," he said. Then when it was his turn, he told the woman selling them: "I'll take all the rest." That was eight one-kilogram bunches — nearly 20 lbs. I wonder what kind of event he was planning.

One more look at the fraises.

We had friends over last night and when Walt brought out the strawberries out, we couldn't stop oohing and aahing over how good they were. They are a French variety called Gariguettes and are sweet and juicy. We ate them plain, with a glass of sparkling Vouvray to wash them down.


  1. Hi Ken,
    You are so lucky having quality wine, cheese, vegetables and fruit suppliers almost on your doorstep ... and I'm not even mentionning the bread lady! Gee, sometimes I wish I were living in France too :)). No wonder we wander south every year again, and again and again! Martine

  2. Ahhhhh another tasty glimpse at your wonderful life over there. Fresh, fresh, fresh and yummy!


  3. Thank you for a new address to find good wine. The asparagus & strawberries weren't expensive at all! Lovely photos.

  4. ooh, we don't have any gariguettes here yet -- just not-very-good Spanish strawberries whose only virtue is their price :( I'm going to cook some in a strawberry crumble tonight -- a first for me!

  5. We've had very nice weather for a month or more now. The asperges blanches are about at their peak, I think, and it's nice to find Gariguette strawberries now. I think these might be grown in serres chaudes in Saint-Romain.

  6. Thats one of the best things about living in the country, is eating following the seasons. It tastes better and you never get tired of the constantly changing flavours.

    The butcher in Le Grand Pressigny - Lydie and Laurent Poupeau - even make seasonal pates. At Easter it was a lovely Terrine de St Jacques, and around about now it'll be an asparagus paté. If you are down that way, its worth a taste and their meat has always been super.



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