I still wish I knew where the ceramicist Claude Gaget goes to buy his wine over in Thésée-la-Romaine. Maybe I should call him, or send him an e-mail. But it seems silly, since there are scores if not hundreds of wineries within 30 miles of Saint-Aignan. You'd think I'd be able to find whatever I want and like to drink. The problem is, my favorite white wine is Chardonnay (don't laugh) made in the un-oaked French style, like Chablis or Mâcon makes it it Burgundy. Burgundy white wine can get expensive — 15 or 20 euros a bottle for the really good ones.
I'm more of a 5-euro (or less) kind of wine drinker, and I can still get a lot of very good local wines for prices like that. I like the Loire Valley Gamay, Côt (Malbec), and Cabernet Franc red wines. I can enjoy the local Sauvignon Blanc whites, but I'm not an enthusiast. Some local vignerons make good Chenin Blanc whites, but not many. I can always go to Vouvray and find what I like, but it's quite a journey for everyday wine buying. A lot of the local Chenin, and indeed the local Chardonnay, now goes into Loire Valley sparkling wines, which are more and more popular these days, since Champagne wines have become so expensive.
So yesterday morning I decided to go over to Thésée and look for some good Chardonnay wine. Actually, the mission began on Friday, when I did a lot of googling, in an attempt to identify some wineries that make Chardonnay and sell it in my price range. I found one — Claude Duguet, and I could see that the winery itself would be easy to get to. After all, the center of Thésée-la-Romaine is all of six miles — 10 kilometers — from "downtown" Saint-Aignan.
Hey, I think that's a frog or toad I see swimming in the red wedge on this tile.
Before going to the winery, which according to the web site is open six days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., I stopped to have a look at the Roman ruins that are located on the west side of Thésée one more time. I drove back to the winery and got there at about 9:30. I boldly drove right into the courtyard of what was a very pretty house. There was a sign, so I know I was in the right place. All the shutters on the front of the house were shut save one upstairs. A car was parked in the courtyard. There was also an outbuilding that looked as if it might be a tasting room, but its big wooden doors were shut up tight. I didn't want to ring the doorbell or toot my car horn, for fear of waking people up. I waited around for a few minutes, and then I quietly departed, sans vin. This happens frequently with vignerons indépendents. That's why I prefer coops, which have regular business hours.
Here are a few more of the many photos that I took in La Borne four or five weeks ago. These last two are more of J-R Meunier's creations. I don't know who made the other pieces, including that teapot — if I remember correctly, it was enormous. Sue especially liked the tile with it's abstract patterns and bright colors (and the frog). I also liked the flower buds or asparagus spears or whatever those plants are supposed to be in the second photo.
After my bust of a drive to Thésée, I went on over to the wine village called Saint-Romain-sur Cher, driving the back roads through vineyards, fields, and woods. It's not far. There I knew about a winery called Le Domaine de La Renne where I thought I might find Chardonnay white wine. And I did. More about that tomorrow. And maybe more photos from La Borne.