Graves, Medoc, and St-Emilion; Sauternes; Loire
Notes from our trip to France in 2011
This year’s one week tour of France took in:
Sauternes - ½ day
Graves, Medoc and Saint Emilion - 2½ days
Loire river - 1½ days
Itinerary, Dinner and Accommodation
Sunday 1 May – Travel from UK to Bordeaux
Dinner- Restaurant 7e péché *,65 Cours de Verdun, Bordeaux, Tel 05 56 06 42 16
Set menu price €49. 4 dishes with the main fish dish being St Pierre. Started with Foie Gras terrine/pate. This was followed by a poached egg and green asparagus. The wine list had an interesting selection of well-priced second wines from 2005; so well priced that the only one left was the most expensive, the Les Pélerins de Lafon Rochet.
Accommodation - Bordeaux 4 night – Campanile, Merignac, Tel 05 56 34 43 62, €63 and €83 depending on the day of the week. Clean simple hotel, not that one could judge by the price. One thing we learned was that the rocade was stand-still stuff in both rush hours in both directions but especially on the airport side. Next time we will find places in both the north and south of the city depending on where we are tasting.
Monday 2 May
View from the terrace at Chemin de Smith Haut Lafite
Amuse Bouche at La Table du Lavoir
Dinner - La Table du Lavoir, Chemin de Smith Haut Lafite, Martillac, Bordeaux, Tel 05 57 83 83 83
This is the bistro attached to Les Sources de Caudalie which was recently regraded back to a one star by Guide Michelin. Two of us shared a stunning Cote de Bouef (prime rib). The three course fixed menu cost €45 excluding a €13 per head supplement for the beef. The Ch Carbonnieux blanc 09 was great outside in the setting sun. Our selection of a 05 Ch de Fieuzal served us well after being decanted for an hour or so. It struck us as a bit strange that they did not have a Sauternes on the wine list despite the area being less than 50km away.
Tuesday 3 May
Lunch - Chateau Pomys, Leyssac, Saint-Estephe, Tel 05 56 59 73 44
We stopped off at Ch Pomys for lunch as there are few supermarkets or sandwich places around Saint-Estephe. We had a very pleasant Menu Autour (€23) and an equally pleasant Ch Pomys 2003 that started us thinking that maybe this vintage was ready for drinking ahead of time.
Dinner - La Cape, 9 Allee de la Morlette, Cenon, Bordeaux, Tel 05 57 80 24 25
This restaurant is difficult to find because it does not look like what one expects from a one star Michelin restaurant - a simple house in the suburbs as you can see from the photo. But, the food is really good – we had the Menu Surprise for €65. This comprised 7 courses determined on the day by the chef. No dish stood but all were very good. Surprisingly this was the first time cheese was included in a set menu. All this was accompanied by a Bordeaux blanc Haut Plantade, which we thought was excellent. The red was a Ch Phelan Segur 2003 – also very good and drinking well after being decanted for an hour or so and kept cool in the cellar during this time.
Wednesday 4 May
Restaurant Jean-Marie Amat
Restaurant in the trees
Blanc manger au parmesa, asperges vertes de Mallemort et oeuf mollet
Dinner - Restaurant Jean-Marie Amat *, 1, Rue du Prince Noir, Lormont, Bordeaux, Tel 05 56 06 12 52 We selected the Menu du Soir at €50. The entre was green asparagus, parmesan mouse with an egg – very tasty. (Blanc manger au parmesa, asperges vertes de Mallemort et oeuf mollet.) The main was Cabillaud (cod) and the dessert was white strawberries with red strawberry sorbet and Chantilly. We washed all this down with a Bordeaux blanc Ch Brondelle 2009 which was a great example. For the red we had a 2005 Les Allees de Cantemerle, the second wine of Ch Cantemerle, which was so good we stopped off for a tasting the next day. The sweet wine was a Doisy-Vedrines 2004 – very good.
Thursday 5 May
Passions et Gourmandises
Pan seared foie gras
Dinner - Passions et Gourmandises *, 6, rue du Square, Saint-Benoit, Tel 05 49 61 03 99
Saint-Benoit is a good stopping off point on the way from Bordeaux to the Loire and this was a very pleasant meal. We had the Menu Saveurs for €62. We started with pan-fried foie gras, a real rarity and the way we prefer it. They replaced the Ris de Veau with pigeon, thank you. This is really a very pretty establishment as you can see and we were looked after exceptionally well. Seeing we weren’t in a wine region we had a blanc-de-blanc champagne Larmandier Tradition Premier Cru and a 2004 Madiran from Montus. The latter was a real eye-opener as it was nowhere near as tannic as we had expected – very pleasant. The sommelier knew his stuff and was very informative.
Friday 6 May
Dinner - Le Favre d’Anne *, 18 quai des Carmes, Angers, Tel 02 41 36 12 12
The house has a clear view of the cathedral and chateau across the river. We had the Menu Fou des Save €75. We had scallops, bar, chicken/boef, a cheeseboard and dessert. For wine we started with a Mont Louis in the garden looking out across the river and also a Savennieres La Roche aux Moines. The red was a Haut de Tetre from Margaux. All in all a very good meal. .
Saturday 7 May
Dinner - Incognito – Stephane Carbone * , 14, rue de Courtonne, Caen, Tel 02 31 28 36 60
The menu Pappilles Decouverts €78 was effectively a surprise menu as one chose how many courses one wanted – three entrees, a fish, a meat and 2 desserts. Although all courses were tasty they were small for this type of restaurant. We had a Chablis and a Mercurey.
Sunday 8 May
Auberge du Vieux Logis
Amuse Bouche at Auberge du Vieux Logis
Lunch- Auberge du Vieux Logis *, Conteville, Tel 02 32 57 60 16.
On the way back to the ferry in La Harve we stopped off at this quaint village for lunch. We had the Menu Saveurs €57 accompanied by cider and a Pinot Gris. It turned out to be a full meal with local cheeses and dessert. The foie gras was the best of both worlds – pan fried and a cool slice of foie gras entire. Once again a very good meal. The amuse bouche was stunning - a very rich chicken and mushroom soup with snaiils.