Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Retail therapy

Monmousseau is a rather large operation compared to what we're used to in our little corner of the Touraine region. Near us, most growers and vintners are small family operations. Production is small to moderate, and the winemaker is usually the person who grows the grapes. There are a few co-ops, but their scale is moderate. Monmousseau, on the other hand, is larger, corporate, and set up to receive visitors with scheduled tours throughout the day. Our tour guide told us that they currently have about four million bottles stored in their cellars.

The Monmousseau retail shop and entrance to the art exhibit.

If you're in the area, I'd recommend going to see it, especially if you've not seen a sparkling wine operation before. The tour (which costs a few euros) is long enough to be interesting, but short enough not to be boring. You see the caves and the guide explains the sparkling wine process step by step. Then you go through the bottling and packing plant. At the end of the tour there is a tasting, of course, after which you can wander around in the retail shop. Not only are their premium wines a good deal, but when we were there they had a bargain bin set up and many good wines were on sale. There are also do-dads, t-shirts, postcards, etc.

A statue of a wine master St. Vincent, patron saint of grape growers, above the retail shop.

There's often a exhibition of local art in the galleries just behind the shop that you are invited to enjoy while you wait for the next tour. And on a hot day, especially, the tour through the caves (cellars) is refreshingly cool.

12 comments:

  1. In my 1997 trip, I visited some chateaux in Bordeaux.

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  2. Unless I'm mistaken, I think the little statue is that of Saint-Vincent, the patron saint of the 'vignerons'.

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  3. martine, thanks! I thought it might be something like that, but I didn't know.

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  4. You make we want to get my passport out.

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  5. I love the glitz and glamour of the big wine producers and their tours. We will have to pay this one a visit.

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  6. I have been on wine tours in Napa Valley, California and in upstate New York. We even have vineyards now on the Connecticut shoreline. But something about France and their long standing traditions takes it all to a whole new level. I love seeing the photos. Thanks.

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  7. Did I see this place on Rick Steve's travel show? Very cool.

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  8. I'll make a note to visit the caves when we are next in Le Petit-Pressigny. I love all manner of sparkling wine! By the way, what is a do-dad?

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  9. I love the lighting in the showroom.

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  10. I can't begin to imagine a million bottles of wine in one place! I'm glad your weather is holding out. Wish I were there...

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  11. St. Vincent you say? Bless'em - he is now one of my favorite saints.
    Or is Dionysus still available?

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  12. vtt, that sounds like fun; I've never done it.

    rick, go for it!

    jean, it's fun for a change.

    suzanne, me too. There's something "real" about how it's done here. By that I mean that the tourist part feels like an afterthought. Sometimes in Napa I think that tourism comes first, and wine second.

    alewis, Rick Steves? Uh-oh...

    gaynor, I think it's actually spelled doodad; I just looked it up. "Any small object whose name does not readily occur to one."

    starman, it was nice.

    evelyn, I wish it was at my house!

    michael, yes, mine too. ;)

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