Monday, 25 May 2015

A pique-nique chez le Vigneron to remember…

With special thanks to Jim Budd for suggesting the idea.




Together with our friends Jean & Nick and Elizabeth and Colin we went along to the pique-nique at the Domain de la Mariniere, at Panzoult, near Chinon. We had a wonderful time, beginning with a vineyard tour by Boris Desbourdes complete with wine, pate, goat's cheese and bread part way round. A few people were encouraged to carry a hoe, and to put it to work part way round, although in the whole scale of the task the efforts were pretty feeble.



A little retirement job, perhaps…


I was at the limit (and often beyond the limit!) of my understanding, but I picked up that they manage the parcels of vines in different ways; some are machine-sprayed with insecticide and the weeds below with herbicide, others are done by hand. Some parcels are managed by horse. There were old and newer vines and Boris showed us how new vines can be grafted on to old root stock.


On our return to the house we were settled on long tables for our pique-nique. Although we’d discussed beforehand who would contribute what to our meal – we’ve all been to joint picnics where there are plenty of nibbles, bread, lettuce and tarte tatin, but little else to hold it together! - it turned out very well indeed.




We were served a delicious aperitif of rose wine mixed with strawberry, raspberry and caramel, rose wine, white wine, reds from 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2004. There was also another red made from the parcel with the dead tree!


I couldn’t quite keep up with my friends and had the wines lined up! To finish (us!) off out came the bottles of pear and plum eau de vie, and some of Madame's delicious flan.




Note the name of this bottle of sparkles.

We were then treated to a tour of the extensive underground quarry system dating back to the 6th century, from which the stone for sarcophagi were cut, and shown a meadow rich in beautiful orchids. You can read more about that here



A Lady Orchid…


A Monkey Orchid…


A Pyramidal Orchid…


Thanks to Susan and Elizabeth for the identification.

Overall it was a fantastic event with very generous and hospitable hosts. Of course we showed our appreciation by buying a few cases of wine, but there wasn't any kind of hard sell or expectation that we should buy.

Thanks to Jim for publicising the event, to Elizabeth for choosing this particular vineyard to visit and for liaising with the owners to book our places. Also to the Desbourdes family for their generous hospitality and to my fellow pique-niquers for making the day such a success.  You can be sure we shall all be looking out for the next one.

The ‘selfie’, taken by Nick…


Happy days…


  1. It all sounds glorious. Slightly educational too, which is a bit of a plus. Glad to see that the weather was at least dry.

  2. It really sounds like you had a good day out. We looked to see what was on after seeing Elisabeth's blog but they are all a bit far from us, We thought that we could have managed to squeeze one in today, but gave up on the idea. maybe next year :-) Lovely post and photos, Diane

  3. What a great day you all had. The tour sounded really interesting and the picnic all looked delicious. Love your line-up of beverages Gaynor, now that is what I call wine tasting :)x

  4. It was without a doubt a great day out... C

  5. That is not a pique-nique , that is a feast. Such a different life isn't it. A super day out .