12 January 2015

Tasting and buying wine in Irancy (1)

Moving on, but looking back. After all those surreal and demoralizing events in Paris last week, yesterday turned out to be a beautiful day, weatherwise and otherwise. It was comparable to that Wednesday in October when we were in Burgundy. In the afternoon, back then, we went to see what the village of Irancy was all about. (Earlier posts are here: 1, 2, 3, and 4.)

Below is the place we found when we decided to buy a few bottles of wine to take back to Saint-Aignan. It looked much more interesting that the Chais et Crus shop we had seen at first, and it was right next door. If you look carefully at the photo, you might see that the sign on the shutter says the entrance to the wine cellar is down the little alley to the right.

Credit where credit is due: I grabbed this image off the street view for Irancy on Google maps.

We walked down the alley, having left Callie in the parked car, and found the door that had a « Cave » sign on it. I banged on the door, pulled it open, and yelled Bonjour. The inside of the door was covered in a sheet of silver plastic that had a layer of insulation of some kind under it. It looked very much home-made and rough.  A voice from down below yelled out something like « Oui, on est là. Descendez. »

The church and rooftops of Irancy seen from up in the vineyards to the south

So we did. The stone stairs were narrow and steep. And definitely dark. About halfway down, I bumped my head on a low stone archway. When we got to the bottom, we found four men drinking wine in a dimly lit cellar. There's a picture below. The man in charge didn't mind if I took a picture, but he and the three other guys moved out of the way. They were probably all in their 30s or early 40s, and they were perfectly friendly. We told them we were two Americans who lived in France, in the Loire Valley, and we wanted to taste some wines and buy some to take home with us.

This was a real wine cave, not a facsimile.

I don't know how many wines they had tasted, or how much they had drunk. I wonder if they were just partying, or if the three friends planned also to buy some bottles. They all seemed to know each other, including the man pouring the wines, and I asked them if they lived in Irancy. They said yes, though one of them said he had been living in Nice for quite a few years and had just returned to Burgundy. (He looked like a young Serge Lama, if that means anything to you.) We tasted three wines with them, and the third one was the one we both thought was best.

À suivre...


  1. Retour aux fondamentaux .. c'est beaucoup mieux en effet !

  2. The cellar looks just like Vincent Bellivier's in Huismes (Chinon) and you describe the same sort of atmosphere when you visit.

    1. You are right, i thought the same when reading the article ����

  3. I've never been to one of these kinds of places, so it's always interesting to see photos from these adventures of yours :)

  4. mon cher Ken,
    would you care to have a look at the blog named "magnon meanderings" ?
    Magnon a publié hier un article about "french restaurants" et j'aimerais beaucoup lire votre commentaire sur cet article si vous voulez bien en faire un. En effet vous fréquentez les restaurants français a lot et vous devez avoir des choses intéressantes à dire sur le sujet.
    Par ailleurs le fait que vous écriviez un article tous les jours m'émerveille et je me suis parfois demandé combien de temps vous allez tenir.
    If ever Walt and you come through Alençon, let me know a few days in advance and my wife and I shall be very glad to have you for luncheon.
    J"ai consulté les pages blanches pour trouver votre adresse exacte car je vous enverrai demain un exemplaire d'Eugénie Grandet et j'ai donc vu que votre prénom est Charles. Pourquoi alors vous faites vous appeler Ken ? Kenneth est-il votre deuxième prénom ?
    Good evening.
    claude vergne

    1. Hello Claude V., sorry to be so slow responding. Regarding Magnon Meanderings' post about French restaurants, he goes a little too far in his criticism, in my opinion. There's no doubt that the restaurant business in France has changed a lot over the past 40 years, with the advent of new kitchen tools and methods, and things like sous-vide, not to mention the current love of everything sucré-salé. That doesn't mean that there are not still many very good restaurants in France. You can expect British bloggers to be critical of everything French -- there's an old rivalry.

      It's true that my first name, mon premier prénom, is Charles. Je suis Charlie, en fait. Mon grandpère paternel s'appelait Charles, et mon père aussi. On appelait mon grandpère "Mister Charlie" mais dans la famille on appelait mon père Kenneth, qui était son deuxième prénom (ou "nom du milieu" middle name comme on dit en Amérique). J'ai les mêmes prénoms que mon père, donc je suis un Junior. Mes parents m'ont toujours appelé Kenny, et j'ai raccourci ce petit nom en Ken quand je suis allé à l'université en 1967. En France, j'utilise souvent mon vrai prénom de Charles pour faciliter les choses, surtout le contact avec l'Administration, et quand je réserve une table au restaurant, je le fait au nom de Monsieur Charles parce que Broadhurst est beaucoup trop compliqué. Voilà.

    2. Merci Claude Vergne, pour Eugénie Grandet, qui est bien arrivé (au masculin, parce qu'il s'agit d'un livre) à sa destination. J'avais regardé dans ma bibliothèque et vu que je ne l'avais plus. J'ai donné et vendu beaucoup de livres quand j'ai quitté la Californie en 2003. J'en ai gardé très peu. Merci encore. Ken

  5. Loving the looks of this cave!


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