Vineyards in le Puy Notre Dame in Autumn.

Long and winding road through the vineyards of Le Puy Notre Dame in Autumn.


One of my favourite Le Puy Notre Dame ‘Autumn’ photographs showing a panoramic view of beautiful golden vines just before the leaves start to fall  and with the glorious Collegiale in the background standing on the highest point of the hill. What a beautiful vista!  There”s a couple more photos below which I took at the same time.

In October we offer special Autumn Breaks for our weekly guests at Le Clos des Guyons which includes an evening meal on arrival, and so were delighted to welcome Jacquie and Tony, and already living in France for some time in the Morbihan region.  It was not their first visit to the beautiful Loire, but this time they wanted to find out more about its wines and to celebrate Tony’s birthday.  It is so nice for us to welcome guests from other parts of France, giving us a chance to find out more about each other’s particular region, and what inspired their choice. For ourselves we have always loved the Loire but apart from the fabulous countryside, impressive chateaux, culture, friendly people, cuisine, weather,relaxed way of life known as the ‘douceur angevine’… and the wine! once you have made the move across the channel another advantage is that it gives you the opportunity to travel galore not only around ‘la belle’ France but over the borders too. The decision to move is the biggest decision ever and life isn’t always easy but it isn’t without its rewards!

Jaqui and Tony from Brittany

Jacquie and Tony from Brittany

We enjoyed a wonderful fun birthday meal together in our dining room, had lots of courses, selection of regional cheeses with walnuts from the garden, but then afterwards came the ‘Tarte de Vigneron’ a Le Puy Notre Dame speciality made by our local village Boulangerer. This  delicious ‘Tarte’ has a crunchy caramel base, decorated with lots of delicately sliced and decorated apples, covered in ‘red wine’ jam and a final dusting of icing sugar.  Very yummy! This was alongside a number of happy hours of wine tasting!!

For our aperitif we had a Cuvée Flamme from Gratien and Meyer sparkling wine house in Saumur, before moving on to a Coteaux du Layon from Domaine du Petit Clocher in Clere sur Layon.  Afterwards we chose a couple of interesting bottles which I have photographed to share with you! :-

Domaine Filliatreau, one of our favourite winemakers, is a prestigious 50 hectare vineyard estate nr Saumur in the Saumur Champigny appellation owned by Paul and Frederik Filliatreau,

2010 Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny Vieilles Vignes

2010 Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny Vieilles Vignes

This particular wine is at the high end from Fillieatreau. The first Vieilles Vignes were born in 1978 and are on average 20 years old, planted at a density of 5,000 vines per hectare and a highly variable exposure because of land fragmentation. We decanted this wine really for our pleasure and immediately loved the deeb ruby red colour with a nose of red fruit but predominantly raspberry.It was a very rich and powerful wine, soft fruity and had a long finish. Yes balance, quality and length. Excellent!

2001 Chateau de Tigné Anjou Vieilles Vignes

2001 Chateau de Tigné Anjou Vieilles Vignes


Chateau de Tigné  is a 100 hectare vineyard owned by the famous French film star, Gerard Depardieu, since 1989 and lies in the countryside between Cholet and Saumur about forty minutes drive from here. The point of interest, as you can see from the picture, is this had been bottled for the restaurant La Grande Monarque, a four star hotel and michelin starred restaurant owned by Bertrand et Nathalie Jallerat in Chartres for their guests attending the 22nd Paulée des Vins de Loire held on the 08 March 2004. The Paulée  is an event held every year in Chartres.   On pouring this wine we saw a strong red colour, there was a deep fruity nose, a generous and creamy in the mouth  extended by ripe tannins.  We did not really expect this to be a great wine having tasted Depardieu’s wine off and on over many years and having been somewhat underwhelmed  but I have to say it was excellent with all the fruit of Cabernet Franc and lovely creamy oak with little sign of aging – and it was a good talking point!

Made for the restaurant La Grande Monarque

Made for the restaurant La Grande Monarque

Jacquie and Tony explored local towns, villages, chateaux, troglodyte caves, local markets, brocantes and some of the sparkling Saumur wine houses  in St-Hilaire St-Florent, including Ackerman, Saumur’s oldest sparkling wine producer (established 1811). Later in the week they had a great morning with Brian driving around the picturesqe vineyards of Saumur Puy Notre Dame, which culminated after lunch in his guided wine tour of the Domaine de la Paleine walking the vineyards and exploring the underground galeries where there are over 200,000 bottles of different appellations stored, before settling into a tutored tasting of their unique wines in a very chic tasting room! Of course this is always the best part of the afternoon when Brian encourages our guests to capture and understand the amazing variety of flavours of the wineries appellations. Afterwards …. er a few hours for sure (and it was a hard choice to make finally) they didn’t leave without taking a few bottles of favourites to drink during the week and to take home for Christmas and New Year.

Dear Brian and Sheila,

“We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Le Clos des Guyons. Many thanks to you both for making it MEMORABLE – gourmet food and wine to die for!  

We have gone away with greater knowledge into the caves of the Loire Valley and not come away emtpy handed!

A different and exciting birthday experience for Tony”.

Kind regards

Jacquie and Tony

……. thankyou for these kind comments. It was a pleasure to meet you both!

Santé! and in the spirit  of Breton  ‘Yech mad’!

Sheila and Brian

Why not visit our NEW website which gives comprehensive details of gite and wine holidays in our charming  self catering holiday accommodation “Le Chenin” and “Le Sauvignon” apartments in the stunning wine village of Le Puy Notre Dame. We have dates available for our Spring Breaks in March.



  1. Hi Brian and Sheila,

    I love the posts, keep them coming.

    Claire and I are getting married this year – on March 1st. It’s a long time since either of us have taken this step and we’re both really looking forward to it. We are steadily, and, it must be said, sometimes frantically, arranging the ceremony which is now only six weeks away.

    The down side is that, because of the costs involved with the wedding, we will not be holidaying this year and our intention of spending another glorious time at your gite will have to wait until 2015 (unless there is a financial fairy godmother). So, mes amis, we wish you a good year and can’t wait till 2015 comes round. We will, of course be able to officially sleep in the same bed then!

    Geoff and Claire.


  2. Hi Geoff and Claire,

    Lovely to hear from you and thank you for your lovely comment on the blog!

    What wonderful news! Congratulations to you both on your forthcoming marriage – it’s not long to wait for the big day either is it? We hope you have a wonderful wedding day and send our very best wishes, wishing we could share it with you!

    Sorry we will not be seeing you this year but we completely understand!

    And so we raise our glasses for a toast to you both on a very happy occasion and hope the champagne flows!

    Sheila and Brian


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