Grapes at Domaine Leduc-Frouin

ripening grapes in the Loire

ripening grapes in the Loire

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Hotel des Trois Marchands in Cour-Cheverny

Cheverny Trois Marchands
Emergency assistance call from an old friend touring the Loire Valley who needed to find a nice hotel with a decent restaurant not far from Blois – No problem!
As part of our wine-buying trips we frequently traversed the Loire Valley, both as a destination in its own right, and also as a conveniently placed last night stay before heading for the Channel ports and home.
One of our “discoveries” was the Cheverny appellation – well, actually it is 2 appellations Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny AOC. We had never heard of it back in the 1980s – and many still have yet to stumble upon it. Using our trusty “Guide Hachette des Vins de France” we had booked a visit to a winery, only to fail to discover it!! Road names and signposting in France can be notoriously difficult, and in those days our French was not so good – and mobile phones an expensive and heavy luxury! After about an hour of seemingly going round in circles, we gave up and started to head north – only to find a sign to another Domaine off the road towards Blois. So by serendipity we arrived at the Domaine des Huards to a fantastic tasting of wines served by Michel and Jocylene Gendrier. I particularly liked the Cour-Cheverny AC Cuvee Francois I – 100% Romorantin grape from old vines – very dry, very aromatic with hints of lime and honey!
 Hotel Trois Marchands in Cour-Cheverny, Loire Valley, France
Our discovery of Les Trois Marchands (The Three Merchants) was a recommendation from Michel Gendrier – and we have been back at least half-a-dozen times since. As a hotel it falls into the OK category – neither luxurious nor spartan – comfortable, affordable en-suite rooms in the French style (although heavy flock wallpaper is absent!). It is the restaurant that (as usual) is the main attraction – especially if you feel up to tacking the Menu Gastronomique! Always good food – with a wide range of choice – excellent local wines and friendly service. We have never had a bad meal there – even when turning up late and unannounced with a party of 8!!
But wait – that is not all. For some culture you can visit the nearby Chateau de Cheverny – an impressive Renaissance chateau within walking distance of the hotel.
And a little further south you can try the excellent Sauvignon Blancs at Domaine Octavie at Oisly in the Touraine (they also produce good red, rose and sparkling wines)

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