18 March 2015

Newport, North Carolina, and Touraine wines

Yesterday was the warmest day so far. In New Bern, 35 or so miles inland from the Crystal Coast, the high temperature was 84ºF (29ºC on March 17 — can you believe it?). I didn't go to the beach, however. We were too busy elsewhere.

One place we went was the town of Newport, North Carolina, just a few miles up the road toward New Bern. The settlement was known earlier as Shepardsville or Bell's Corner at different times (before the U.S. Civil War), and the current population is about 4,000, which puts it in the same category as Saint-Aignan, where I live. It couldn't be more different, though. Above is a photo of one of the churches in the town. You'll agree that it doesn't look much like the church in Saint-Aignan, which you can see in my blog header photo above. Below is a close-up of the sign out in front of the Newport church.

One thing we enjoyed doing in Newport was stopping and shopping at a new wine bar in the downtown section to browse through the wines on sale there. I found a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc from the 18 département in France, which is Le Cher and is not far from Saint-Aignan. I would have expected those wines to carry the Quincy or the Mènetou-Salon appellation, but they were just labeled Sauvignon. Nearby, there were two bottles of a Chenin wine from a place called St-Georges-sur-Loire, which is a little town of some 3,500 souls over near Angers.

I asked the owner of the wine shop if he had any other Loire Valley wines. He seemed not to know what or where the Loire Valley was. He asked me if it was in California. When I told him it is in France, he asked me to write the name down for him. I told him that some of the best-known wines from the Loire Valley are labeled as Chinon, Bourgueil, Vouvray, or Touraine. He asked me to write those names down for him too. I don't think he'd never heard of them. Maybe now he'll order some.

P.S. I don't know how many of you in the Touraine du Sud or elsewhere saw this article about the town of Richelieu a few days ago in the Paris newspaper Libération.


  1. Your PS, Ken...
    We didn't for one household.... we buy the Nouvelle Republique, our area edition...
    but that article was fascinating... could anyone sell off heritage stone by stone nowadays.
    But I don't think I'll use the Tearoom that is also an antique shop....
    been in a pub like that in Norfolk [UK]...
    had the table sold out from under our drinks...
    moved to another and lost a seat the same way...
    not a pleasureable drink... but the landlord sold a good pint!

    Perhaps you could come to an arrangement with the wine shop owner to give a couple of talks about the local wines....
    and a tasting thereof, next visit?
    But did you buy any of those wines... you hint at it...

    1. No, I didn't buy any wine. Prices ranged from $14 to $20 per bottle -- a little steep for me for such wines. I really don't think the man who runs the wine bar/shop is going to be able to make a go of it. I can't imagine where his customers will come from. People here don't know much about wines.

  2. Interesting about the wine store :) You'd think, wouldn't you, that someone selling wine in his own shop would have a little more knowledge than that.
    Hope you're enjoying your trip!

  3. I saw the article about Richelieu because the 'Abbé Proust' linked to it on his blog.

  4. Oh my, French wine in Newport! I lived in Newport in the early 70's for a couple of years. Things must of really changed!

    There is a winery in Newport on the Lake Road that had a booth at the Mullet Festival in Swansboro last year. I picked up a bottle of their Chardonnay and for a NC wine it wasn't too bad to my unsophisticated taste buds, unlike all those wines from Duplin County that use the muscadine grapes. Yuk! I paid $15.00 for that bottle.

    What I do remember the most about living in Newport was the Shriners or Masons, can't remember which, had pork BBQ fundraisers. Theirs was without a doubt the best BBQ I think I have ever eaten.

    I'm glad you've had some nice weather while you been visiting!

  5. How sad that the 'owner' of a wine shop doesn't know about his product. Hoping he was a clerk & not the owner...

  6. It is possible that the man knows a lot about California wine.


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