Thursday, 9 December 2010

Wines of the Charente - Cave de Saint Sornin

The Cave of St Sornin is a co-operative wine producer in the Charente and our closest winery in France.  I visited it in September this year and took a few photographs. (Cave, the  "a" pronounced with a long "ah", is French for cellar - or cave)

Located on one of the paths of the pilgrims of Saint Jacques de Compostela, the vineyards of Saint Sornin in Charente Perigord, are one of the oldest vineyards in France. The company does tours of the wine production facility by arrangement and you can buy St. Sornin wines afterwards in the shop.

Started in 1967, the wine co-operative's main business is wine from the Wine Country Charentais. i.e. the Charente department. I understand this is the only winery that produces 100% Charentais wines.  They also sell cognac and the charentais speciality Pineau, plus a few other local specialties such as slippers, jams and pates. Pineau is a 50:50 mixture of cognac and white wine and many local people produce their own for home consumption - the quality varies!!!

There is, of course, tasting. I am not very good at this, as I heartily dislike spitting wine out!  What a waste!

The decor is a reminder of the local heritage; there are many  prehistoric caves and  sites in the region.


You can even buy wine and your slippers at the same time, these are of course the famous Charentaise Slippers



This barrel was beautifully painted, but no matter how I tried, I could not get a photo without the glare of the lights!

64 comments:

  1. You must have bought a few for this coming festive season. I can only take a few sip and not more than that. Thanks for taking us along for another fabulous trip of yours. I'm enjoying it very much.
    Blessings, Kristy

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  2. I can't spit out wine.. it is wicked to waste and kind of yucky to do... guess I'll never be a famous wine critic! Love those slippers... those would be great for the holidays!!!

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  3. Slippers and wine seems a perfect combination. Never could see spitting out and wasting good wine.

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  4. Kristy I am glad you enjoyed the tour, it is something a bit different from the usual but it is an interesting shop. Diane

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  5. lostpastremembered I could not agree more, what a waste. Problem is driving home afterwards if one does too much tasting :-) I keep saying I must but some of those slippers but they are not so cheap:-( Diane

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  6. Gaelyn I will never become a wine connoisseur, I would be too drunk by the time I had tasted a few LOL. Diane

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  7. Hi Diane ~ I just love those charentais slippers ~ I mean I would go there just for them!!
    xx
    Dianne

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  8. Dianne I will one day splash out and buy myself a pair they really are very nice slippers. Diane

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  9. Pineau is gorgeous - I loved it. x

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  10. Well I have learnt something new to day, as one tends to when blog reading, in my experience anyway. I had never heard of Charentais slippers. :)

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  11. Diane, I could not agree more but it too easy to just keep drinking it!!!!! Diane

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  12. Lindy you must have missed my previous blog on the Charentais slippers. It was in July last year and I am sure you were already following me then, but maybe it was when you had visitors. Diane

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  13. Thank you for the post. Nobody else could make me spit out some wine! The box with the slippers is unbelievable!

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  14. Great wine tour. I never spit out the wine when I wine taste... what a waste of tasty wine!

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  15. Just like you I don't spit wine, so this post reminded me of some wine tasting I had at the Stellenbosch area, near Cape Town, at 10am... No need to say more... LOL!
    This place looks lovely and so do your shots, Diane.

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  16. JM I know the feeling well. We went to a wine estate in the Cape at about the same time of the day. The owner was away and his mother was running the show. She kept producing wines that were not yet for sale but ones she though we should taste..... It was all we could do to make it to the next estate for lunch let alone a tasting LOL. Diane

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  17. Interesting post! I am reminded of the habits of some French people to also drink wine for breakfast.

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  18. Taste of Beirut, I find the French enjoy their wine at any time, but they generally drink a lot of water as well. If we go to the truckers restaurants at lunch time (cheap meals, wine included) they will have a glass but they certainly do not over do it. Wine is cheap there so it is a popular drink. Pastis is still the most popular drink though as an aperitif, though we do know a couple of whisky drinkers! Diane

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  19. What a great shop to get unique Christmas gifts in. I still have Christmas shopping to do so gifts are on my mind!

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  20. Cool post. I used to enjoy wine, but now as a prediabetic, I really can't touch it, so I haven't kept up with pairings.

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  21. Another interesting post Diane - it would be nice if you could do one on the prehistoric caves sometime ...

    Sadly, my 'wine tasting' days are over - I can't drink alcohol since malaria badly messed up my 'system' ...

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  22. Linda I agree it is ideal for Christmas presents because everything there is quite unique. Diane

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  23. Judy that is quite sad if you used to enjoy wine. I drink it when I am with Nigel but when I am in France on my own I drink water mostly! Diane

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  24. Graham you have already triggered me off on animals that I have owned stories, but I think most of the photos are in France so it will have to wait. The prehistoric caves, I probably have some photos hanging around, but again I will have to search. Not sure how much history is available, again I probably have enough in France but the internet might throw up something. Both posts are on my 'to do' list.

    Sorry about the malaria but I am sure you are much healthier for not drinking alcohol! Diane

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  25. What a fantastic cave, I'd like to visit that - we have one in our village and they are very good humoured about me NOT spitting out at any degustations they have :0) xxxx

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  26. Great pics Diane! What a beautiful barrel! Great slippers for sure!

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  27. Roz, St Sornin can not be that far from you. They have some pretty nice wines and not that expensive. Diane

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  28. Thanks Pam, I was really sorry that I could not get a beter photo of the barrel. I am sure it could have been done, but I don't know what settings there are that I could use on the camera. I just use it on auto :-) Diane

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  29. It looks like a wonderful place! I love nice old places.

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  30. Margie it is a fun place to go as they sell all sorts of goodies besides wine. Diane

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  31. Very interesting! thanks for sharing this Cave with us! happy week ahead!

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  32. Enjoy wine I do, but I do not pretend to be a connoisseur. I can not tell if it is expensive or cheap. For those who do, I raise my glass to them.
    'unscrew the top and pass the bottle'
    Have only been to one small winery, and it was fun. A garden to sit in, enjoy wine and a cheese/bread plate.

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  33. Hi Diane!!
    A great post on wines!!
    Can't stay long this evening, but thanks again for your lovely wishes!
    Have a great evening!

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  34. Mya, I am also no connoisseur, some wines I like and some I don't. Often the ones I don't like are the expensive ones and the ones I like are the cheap ones. Good for the pocket so long as my taste stays that way!!! Diane

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  35. Thanks Noushka for your good wishes as well. I have also been short of time today, plus Nigel sick in bed! Diane

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  36. I wish I could have been with you. I'm dying to explore this region. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  37. I visited my first French wine cave in France this past Summer in the Loire Valley (when I crazy enough to think I could bike through France, smile). This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, it brought back fun memories.

    Happy Holidays to you.

    Velva

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  38. Mary it would have been fun to go together. It is a lovely region, maybe one day..... Diane

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  39. Velva you need lots of time to bike through France:) I have managed the bottom of England to the top of Scotland on a charity ride.

    The wine estates can be fun, we have mostly done tours in S.Africa so France is fairly new to us. Glad it brought back good memories. Diane

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  40. That's a really big barrel, I have never been to a winery so your virtual tour for us is exciting. Thanks for sharing Diane.

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  41. chubskulit It would have been more interesting if I done a tour of the cellars, maybe next time. Diane

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  43. Great decor in there! I love your attention to detail, Diane. That painted barrel is gorgeous!

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  44. Thanks Faith, there wine is pretty good as well. Diane

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  45. Hello Dine!!
    I believe this time the "dragons" will disappear for good, it is getting quite cold : -2 to 4°C at night and these coming days about 4°C above, daytime!!
    I hope you're OK, I think you had an anti-cyclone protecting you from bad weather, but it must be also very cold!
    Keep well
    A bientôt!!

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  46. Noushka I am fine but very cold! It is going to get colder by the look of it:-( I am struggling with my new laptop at the moment and finding programmes that will not work in 7 that worked in XP. Will get there in the end I hope. Also Nigel at home not well! Diane

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  47. Oooh, this looks like one to put on the itinerary next year when we visit Perigord. Yes, I hate spitting out good wine too. You didn't really say if you liked the wine - is it a good drop?

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  48. Thanks for sharing with us this fabulous trip.

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  49. L'Aussie, I personnally think the wine is pretty good and not that expensive. If you are going to be that close to us I hope you are going to pay us a visit? Diane

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  50. Sonia it was a fun visit especially as it was for a friend so I was spending his money and not my own. LOL. Diane

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  51. What a fabulous and interesting life you lead!! So happy to have found you and to be following along in your travels!
    Blessings!
    Ann
    PS Be sure to enter my GIVEAWAY!

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  52. Thanks Ann for visting, you have a great site. Hope to see you back here soon. Diane

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  53. What a fun post :) I popped over from Anne's place...Merry Christmas.

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  54. M.Kate thanks so much for visiting. My posts are a bit slow at the moment as there is so much going on but I am trying to keep up when I can. Hope to see you back soon. Diane

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  55. The box with the slippers is unbelievable!!! really.. It was really a fun place to go as they sell all sorts of goodies besides wine.
    Dumpster Rental

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  56. What a cave! I certainly would not mind being trapped in one like this! Very quaint place, just like the inside cellar of a big house.
    Thanks for your very nice comments! I posted 3 more pictures I hope will help in putting together the empanada. Keep warm and happy holidays to you!

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  57. Thanks for your comments Dumpster. I almost bought some wine and slippers for myself, but decided that I was spending money that should go elswhere:( Next year if they still have them I may just change my mind:) Thanks for visiting hope to see you back. Diane

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  58. Michelangelo, I could also happily be trapped in that cave!! Thanks for the extra photos will go and have a look now. Diane

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  59. Guess I'm not going to make a good wine taster...went to a small winery in NY state and didn't spit out a drop...

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  60. Carol in that respect we must be two of a kind LOL. Diane

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  61. rwoodhouse0214, sorry I missed your comment as you took a trip into my spam folder, now I have found you I hope it will not happen if you visit me again!!!
    The reds which we quite liked were Sornin Erectus and Cuvée Privilège. We are a bit tight when it comes to spending, the wines are very good value for under €4 a bottle!! My husband does not drink much white but I liked Sapiens Sauvignon. A friend of mine who is well into wines has asked me several times to get him Sornin Erectus Rosé. Niether of us is a rosé fan but I am sure he would not order if it was not good. Hope this helps.

    Where do you live that you have not yet visited France? Diane

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  62. Hi Diane - love your photos and story here .. always love to look - if I was there I'd be buying!

    Interesting about being on the Pilgrim route - and the prehistoric caves look very interesting ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  63. Hilary we always buy a bit here. The wines are good an not expensive. Good place to drop in from time to time. Diane

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