There is an exciting event marked in our diary this weekend that I thought I would share with you, just in case you happen to find yourselves anywhere near Angouleme, here in Poitou-Charentes. Our favourite Angouleme wine cave, the Caves Charlemagne, have a fête celebrating their rosé wines this Saturday.
We first discovered Charlemagne last April and have since returned twice and despite them no doubt having more regular customers (and those with bigger budgets) we have always felt welcomed back. Last time we were even given a free bottle to compare with the ones we bought.
I will admit it is not the easiest place to find (even our SatNav had problems), but I’m so glad we persevered. Just out of town and tucked away at the end of a cul de sac, to find yourself in a Champagne cave set in the Angouleme limestone cliffs is a little unusual. M. Charlemagne, born in the Champagne region of France, set up his business here in 1921 as the cave offers the perfect conditions for storing wines and the local white Charentais grapes (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) are perfect for Champagne method wine.
On our first visit, we were interested in their sparkling wines (identical to Champagne, but can’t be called that as they aren’t made in the Champagne region of France) and were greeted (in English) by Sarah who talked us through the different varieties. She was friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and generous with her tasting offerings. In addition to the sparkling wines, they also bottle a local vin de pays Charentais wine, Mainart, some of which are Paris gold medal winners. It is not the largest or most celebrated wine region of France, but we had to return to buy more of the 2009 Merlot which at 7.20€ a bottle well deserved it’s gold medal. We can recommend a visit to anyone in the area and especially this Saturday, as they will be offering discounted prices on their rosés. Here are some photos to whet your appetite.
|Charlemagne Sparkling and Mainart wines|
|Tasting with Sarah|
|Mainart Vin de Pays Charentais|
|Mainart 2009 Gold Medal wine|