Sunday 5 June 2011

Portes ouvertes at Francueil

Friday we went up to the wine co-operative in Francueil which now operates under the name 'La Gourmandiere. It was their 'portes ouvertes' -- open house. We've written about Francueil before here.

several St Vincents and other 'wine-alia'
A co-op is a simple system--small wine growers bring their grapes and instead of having the huge costs of pressing and bottling their small harvests themselves, these are shared and collectively they create the wines. Originally the Societé Co-operative Agricole, Francueil started in 1925. The building is a huge, spotlessly clean, hangar-like affair with numerous undergound cuves (tanks). 

One of the co-op members we spoke to when tasting the rosés lamented the fact that every year cuves are left empty as there aren't enough grapes to press to fill them all. Sadly shaking his head he said 'people are drinking less wine and grubbing up the small vineyards so less comes into the co-op'. Continuing with a sigh, and a shake of the head, he said 'people are drinking water or coca cola instead!'

In addition to being able to view the operation and stop for different tastings, there were other stalls selling produce and craftwork such as: lace, organic soap and breads. Also on display were old machinery, wine paraphernalia and paintings.

old machinery & paintings
You could have a go at a blind tasting and see how good your nose & palate really were. It proved popular; we overheard some heated discussions between French couples as to wether it was a Gamay rosé or Touraine Amboise rosé. Differentiating between cot and gamay reds also provoked lively exchanges!

We left somewhat the poorer for pennies but the richer for wine, including fizz -- there is a birthday later this month... We especially liked the 2010 Gamay rosé which is a bit drier than the Touraine Amboise rosé and won a gold medal at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris; of which they are extremely proud.




Craig said...

What an interesting way to spend a few hours. Lucky you! The "loot" looks excellent... I'm very jealous.

GaynorB said...

I can vouch for the rose (and the damson jam)! Thank you...

We will certainly take a trip there on our next visit.

The Broad said...

Gamay rose -- definitely on my list!

ladybird said...

Loire wines are my absolute favourite! Some friends of mine live in Franceuil and the husband is the deputy mayor of the village. They are good friends of Jim Budd's (the English wine writer). Maybe you know them too?

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Craig--it was good fun as we've visited plenty of individual vineyards but Francueil is on a different scale. oh and the loot is excellent we tested a bottle or 2 over the weekend just to make sure ;-)

@Gaynor - hope trip back to UK wasn't too fraught. Glad you enjoyed it.

@The Broad--also love the wines you get closer to you: Galliac and Quercy. Friends have a vineyard in Quercy.

@Martine-- afraid we don't know your friends; we know Jim from his blog but haven't had the pleasure of meeting him in person.

Jim's Loire said...

I was away on the 2011 Translayon ther day you had lunch@Le Lézard Vert in Epeigné-les-Bois.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jim--saw you had a great time on the Translayon. Le Lézard Vert is on our list of 'eateries' now so maybe we'll bump into you sometime.