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Travels of a Sommelier Part II - Where to Visit & A Competition




Our 17th Birthday Party is tomorrow and what better way to celebrate, than a shop party with wine tasting from Le Petit Ballon.

We discussed with Founder and Master Sommelier Jean Michel which his favourite vineyards in France are and why.

Be sure to come down to 123 Sydney Street to join in with all of our jollities from 6-8pm!

We have made a beautiful birthday garden with Sophie Strutt

Can you tell us your top 5 vineyards to visit in France and why?  

1. Clos de l'Ours

A stunning family-run vineyard in Provence. Fabienne & Michel and their son Fabien started their adventure to become winemakers in 2012 after deciding to follow their lifelong dream.

It’s an amazing place to visit, but also to stay. The family is very welcoming and it’s so peaceful, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into paradise. You can visit all year round; the autumn is cosy and calm - long walks in the woods and visiting the nearby village of Cotignac in the day, with nights spent by the fire. In the Summer, the pool at the front of the farm house is the best way to cool off!
The Rosé is delicious.

Link to the wine: click here

Stay at the Châteaux & Hôtels Collection
2. Château de Jau

Located in the east Pyrenees, Château de Jau is run by the Dauré family. The Dauré brothers, Jean and Bernard, were pioneers in wine tourism setting up the first winery restaurant in the 1970’s. Today, their children are carrying the torch adding a resolutely modern touch with a great deal of creativity.

The restaurant here is an absolute must. Open for lunch in the warmer months, and dinner at the height of summer. The food is simple and delicious, a tasting menu that’s complimented by their wines. The food is typical of the Roussillon area, whilst the setting has a Mediterranean atmosphere with some Tuscan touches.

Their Jaujau 1er is quite simply of the best wines that I have been given to taste this year.

Link to the wine: click here


Stay at the Châteaux & Hôtels Collection

3. Loire Valley

This region as a whole is well worth a visit.  It’s known as the “garden of France” because it’s surrounded by gardens, vineyards and chateaux. My favorite things about this region has to be, quite simply, the climate and the castles. Most of the year,  the best way to explore the Loire is by bike. The entire area has been UNESCO listed, and the scenery is so stunning, you can really see why.

Things to do:

Visit the Châteaux. There are more than 100 open to the public, so there are plenty to see! The largest and most famous one is the Château de Chambord, and it really does look like something out of a fairy tale.



The Loire à Vélo trail has made cycling in the Loire Valley the best way to visit vineyards whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery.

Vineyards to visit

Domaine FL - Try the La Croix Picot, a Chenin Blanc cuvee.
Domaine de la Chevalerie -  Try the Bourgueil, a red made from Cabernet Franc grapes.


Where to eat

Autour D'un Cep

9 Rue Baudrière, Angers.


This sandstone-walled bistro boasts a delicious seasonal menu and an impressive wine list. I recommend the asparagus soup & duck fillets with polenta. A good value restaurant with warming service and charm. A friendly bistro that brings together the skills of two friends: one a chef, the other the son of a winemaker.

We are also running a competition to win a month subscription with Le Petit Ballon for those who can't attend our party.

Look for the image below on our Instagram to see how to enter!

Instagram Link

xx C&R xx




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