07 March 2014

An excellent Vouvray, and an elusive stove

Last Sunday afternoon, our friends Susan and Simon, two Australians who've been living in the area for about five years now, stopped by for a short visit. S & S operate a business called Loire Valley Time Travel, offering guided tours in a beautiful 1950s vintage Citroën traction avant. You can read about it and reserve a tour here.

S & S were kind enough to bring us a bottle of a very nice Vouvray wine when they came by. Vouvray is a wine village on the Loire River just east of Tours, a short hour's drive from Saint-Aignan. Vouvray wines are whites made exclusively with the Chenin Blanc grape, in a range of styles from dry to sweet and still to sparkling. You can read about Château Gaudrelle on the blog that S & S author, Days on the Claise.

This Vouvray was a 2007 vintage — that's pretty venerable by Loire Valley standards (or any other standard, I guess). Age is a good thing when it comes to wine, of course, provided it's the right kind of wine, like this one. The label says you can keep it for 8 to 10 years, and it will gain in complexity and refinement. I enjoyed the delicious Château Gaudrelle with my birthday feast on Wednesday. Thanks, S & S.

I served my birthday lunch in this 50+-year-old dish that my mother gave me years ago.
It was made in Louisville, Kentucky, and decorated with what could be a Loire Valley theme.

Meanwhile, Walt and I drove up to Blois yesterday to see if we could inspect a new kitchen stove that we are interested in. No luck. We had actually planned to go to Tours, which is a longer drive from Saint-Aignan, but then Walt saw on a web site that the store that sells the stove we wanted to see does not have a floor model we could look at. For that, you have to drive four hours over to Nantes, in the west, or four hours to Châlon-sur-Saône, in Burgundy, east of us. No way.

Here's the kitchen stove we are thinking about buying. It has all the features we want, including a rotisserie.

Other friends of ours have a stove that might be a good one for us. We hope to go inspect and measure that one next week chez eux and then make a decision. We may end up having to order a kitchen stove sight-unseen and hope for the best. For a $1000 purchase, that's a little nervous-making.


  1. That stove looks very nice...
    and the supports look much safer than many...
    and much less likely that there would be "tip accidents".
    The knobs look identical to our Smeg hob...
    that's been designed to be very flat, too!
    no electrical hotplate?
    But a stand alone is dirt cheap, tucked in a cupboard for emergencies...
    However, I notice that the electrical controls are exactly where they twice failed on our DeLongi...
    right under the wok burner!!
    The hottest bit!

  2. "The label says you can keep it for 8 to 10 years, and it will gain in complexity and refinement."

    Apparently that's true of you, too, Ken. Belated birthday wishes from E and me.

  3. Carolyn, you are too kind. Best to you and E.

    Tim, the stove is a Smeg, with four gas burners and no electric hot plate. Electric oven, though.

  4. I enjoyed the labels on the Vouvray. I think I'll show this post to my French-4s, who just saw a Rudy Maxa travel video in the Loire Valley and Burgundy, and they learned was "dégustation" was :)

    So, since the stove doesn't have the electric burner, are you going to also get a single electric counter-top induction thingy, or something like that?

  5. I think I see an electric burner on the stove. I love seeing the Louisville Stoneware dish. It reminds me of My old KY home, plus your mother's good taste and foreshadowing of the vineyard you know so well.

    I'm glad your birthday was celebrated so well.

  6. Many thanks for the nice mention on your blog, and we are delighted you enjoyed the wine.

  7. Is that beautiful dish the "Vintage" pattern by the John B. Taylor Company which later became Louisville Stoneware?
    If so, the company claims that the clay used may be up to 250 million years old. At a mere 65 years old, that's gotta make you feel young!

  8. Dean France, it sure looks like it, doesn't it! (I looked it up.)

  9. Dean, you're right, it's a John Taylor dish. We had a whole set when I was growing up but there aren't many left now. I think I have all that remain, but my sister might have some. The dish itself is not quite as old as I am, if I remember correctly.


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