My work is nearly done…
Often next to a chateau are smaller producteurs working more or less the same terroir, frequently run by employees from next door making similar wine on a smaller scale. After that, tiny vinyards of a few hectares, sometimes managed by a group of determined friends who work in return for wine, produce vin de table for their every day drinking. Sadly this important part of French life, with increasing regulation is on the demise. Thankfully it flourishes in some rural areas where beauocratic interference to what is, an integral part of French life is held with the contempt it justly deserves.
The great thing is that some of them produce very acceptable wines at a fairly reasonable price point. Visit any ‘cave a vin’ in France and usually at the back, they will have a selection of stainless steel tanks offering local producteurs wine. Known as vin en vrac (wine in bulk or loose wine) it’s around 2 euros a litre, try some you might be surprised.
One holiday years ago, we overshot our exit from the auto route but found an amazing route down the Loire valley. Stopping briefly to buy some fruit and veg for the weekend, the producteur also sold local wine in 5 litre plastic barrels. It tasted amazing, almost black ink in colour which threw a massive sediment in the glass and truely memorable.
So next time you are in France, try some and give the smaller producteurs a chance.