The Vignobles Marchais !!!!

The Wines of the Marchais family of Thouaré sur Loire. We look them up in a previous wine fair in Guérande (see post) and decided their ideas were worth a follow up on site. Great experience, recommended to all wine lovers. Part of our little vacations trying to continue life aftet the loss of my dear wife Martine. I have been coming and going to the Vignobles Marchais ever since. There are in the La Blandiniére hamlet in the town of Thouare-sur-Loire, and it has been a pleasant find. We first met at the village vignerons festival of Guérande (see posts).


Thouaré sur Loire is in the department 44 Loire Atlantique south of me in the region of Pays de la Loire. Historically part of Brittany … and only 10 km from Nantes. And about 2 hrs by car from my house. What is to see here well there is a nice Church of Saint Vincent, (see post) and the castles of  Picauderie built in 1773, that of Thouaré from the 10C but profoundly restored in the 19C and finally the closest we saw was the  Hilliére  overlooking the Loire river in the Neo Classical style. Built in the 14C with a beautiful Chapel of the Virgin that was taken from the Chapel of Auray.


However, what we came to see here was wines of the Loire, muscadet  Sévre et Marne sur lie, (see post) ,the very best of its field,and the only vineyards in the limits of the town. This is a family effort started in 1947 by the father and today continue with the son Philippe and older brother and the help of all the family and some local and far winegrowers who have invested in a beautiful cellars and property.  We were helped directly by Cynthia a very nice helpful lady. The propery vignobles Marchais.



The idea here is to come in and stay one night in a huge wine barrel made lodging with bedding, another barrel acts as a bathroom and showers and more bathrooms are allowed inside the cellar house. We spent the night and it was a fantastic experience ,and recommended by all. We arrived the night before, and got a lesson in winemaking of the local grapes such as the melon de bourgogne (for the muscadet) but also pinot gris and the fact that they can do other grapes not from the AOC/AOP such as Chardonnay. The presentation included discussion on the stone ground composition on the three areas they own vineyards and how it is grown. They have about 30 hectares in total and exports about 200K bottles including the partners growers some family members from other wine regions of France. Great experience !



We were welcome with tasting of 3-4 bottles in the cellar house ,and from there shown our bedroom a wine barrel made into a bedroom.  We did good and ample space. The next day we had a wonderful breakfast served on a picnic area of the cellars with plenty of pain au chocolat, croissants, orange juice, coffee, jellies, baguette ,butter, and water. We then did our purchases in the store ,not obligatory but we love these wines. Especially the sparklers rosé and white perles lutines and the parasol rose from old grapes before phylloxera call the 54 dating from the 1800’s.  Also, the great Berligou grapes red wine that was a gift from Charles the fearless duke of Burgundy to his cousin François II duke of Brittany, The welcome was perfect and again this is what France is all about come direct to the grower and feel the bounties of the land and the history of the regions. They do events, and even picnics, tents, a warm up cooking area for onsite meals for groups , etc and business conference rooms on site. The food chosen is paired with the wines recommended or your own.

This time was to celebrate the harvest the next day and did a vineyards festival or fête des Vendanges in their property , very nice. We were only a small group of 13 which was ideal. We arrive punctual at 11h while they were getting ready to host a wedding at 15h lol! Our event started shortly after the owner Philippe Marchais arrived. He is trying to export more and I am helping out with some information on the USA market. First, was a brief explanation on the terroir, Philippe is a firm believer in this , and so am I. All sort of information on the land and stones on the soil was given in a brief format. The stones here have lots of schist. We went on to the vineyards!

Well it was a harvest time, so we were the first one to pick up grapes of the Melon of Burgundy (melon de Bourgogne) great to be able to use our cutter and get the nice chunks of grapes off into a bucket first and then a huge wooden cart!!! Very nice and on a friendly fun group of people. Once we finish , we came in to the chai or cellars to taste the grapes and determine their acidity, taste, and aromas as well as the maturity of them. We try three different plot of land from same grape and all taste and smell different, that is the terroir !!! After, of course, we taste the real wines from the previous year, and were nicely impressed with the Grand Clos du moulin de Pé muscadet of course. And the refreshing Domaine de Bois Biot white. This was accompagny by salmon and sardines cold meat or paté, terrines, and pork paté from Brittany! Very liberal serving and nice conversation around my favorite subject !!



We were surprise by  a visit from a radio chain France Bleu and the owner Philippe was interviewed right in front of us. I was one of the ones chosen to be spoken to and hopefully will be on the air soon!!!  All during the interview , we were at the table and then we all join the visitor for a chat on wines and good food of the Loire, and the Nantes vineyards! The food oh my God, all down with a find a nice surprise wine Egiodola red wine a grape originally from the Basque country but now planted here and producing a fruity pleasant red wine with lots of blackberry !! delicious we purchase a carton of  6 bottles! We, also, got 4 bottles of cider for free!!! We indeed continue chatting with the owner and his wife Violette that joined us at the table sitting next to me so lots of conversation. For info, that is me above cutting the grapes harvest time!!!


They have a very nice building; the basement is the production site for bottling about 200K bottles of their own production. The street level is the cellar, tastings and boutique, and the first floor (2nd US) is a reception area (where the wedding was held) also good for business meetings and other events, all hook up with video equipment and large screens. The have about 9 persons working mostly family members. What they do is they have other families cousins etc who are also winemakers in other regions of France. They bring their wines to the cellar boutique and sells them ,so therefore we purchase a Morgon from the Beaujolais, and two Margaux from Bordeaux region from 2011 at good prices,not a good vintage year but the producers are guaranteed good and that is the main point here.


They ,also, have a Bar à Vin and dinners are arrange in addition to many other activities throughtout the year, check their webpage. The wine tastings are done here . The region and best bottles in my opinion are Thouaré sur Loire on the Muscadet Côteaux de la Loire with vignobles de Thouaré , and coteaux d’Ancenis Malvoisie. The area of Loroux-Bottereau on the Muscadets-Sèvre-et-Maine with the Perle Lutines noir and blanc ,Rosé parasol parapluie , and the star the Grand Clos du Moulin du Pé. Also, the Mauves-sur-Loire area with the Domaine du Blois Blot ,and Champtoceaux.  They have many other offers even a day in the vineyards and wine tastings. Very much into the wine and big investment to satisfy all comers; all are welcome, and again, I really do not write much about properties we go but on some we make an exception for the value/quality ratio and the warm welcome.


To have dinner, for our last day, we asked for recommendation but unfortunanely the resto was closed for personal reasons, and searching for others were closed as we left the tastings late ::) So I pull out my old reliable, a Novotel four star hotel in nearby town of Carquefou. And we call from the car, made the reservation on the run and voilà they were open ,of course. A delicious file mignon steak with mashed potatoes for me with abricot in peanut butter and vanilla ice cream dessert and a bottle of Alsace Pinot Noir red from the Klipfer family for a change of pace, all for 25€ per person.  The hotel restaurant Novotel Carquefou :



The official Vignobles Marchais

The Vineyards of Nantes tourist office 

In all, it was a wonderful experience. Enjoy it nothing better than a good wine and if French much better, simply the best! The Vignobles Marchais are now one of our favorite, because the wines are good, the prices are good, and the people are excellent! Hope you enjoy the post and come on over anytime folks,

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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