Among the grandest country chateaux, rolling orchards and sparking Loire river, the fifth generation of the Badin's family run a dynamic wine estate with both charm and simplicity. Pass by, they will show you around and share their passion with you - they'll make you feel like an old friend visiting from the moment you step in.
Come during their open-door weekends, and you'll sit with the locals.
Half way between the small villages of Cormeray and Cellettes, near Blois in the Loire Valley is the Cave of Aubras. A 14-hectare family-owned wine estate that has been producing AOC Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny wines over the past five generations. These two appellations are defined both by their location, in proximity to the castle of Cheverny (known as Chateau de Moulinsart by Tintin aficionados), and by the use of a specific variety of grapes, such as the Romorantin – a Burgundian grape which was implemented in the region by Francis I of France.
At the Cave de l’Aubras, you are welcomed in a vast wine storage in the middle of which a space as been made for tasting activities. Certainly a storage does not boast the charms of a cellar, but like elsewhere in the valley, charm is something you need to earn: whether at the corner of a winding path along the Loire river or in one of the many small villages, the charm, you need to go and get it... that of Mr and Mrs Badin is undoubtedly their warm welcome, making you feel like an old friend visiting from the moment you step in. During a tasting, it’s not unusual to be “interrupted” by locals popping by to pick up their wine – which to us is undoubtedly a guarantee of genuine quality.
If you have the opportunity, visit the Cave of Aubras during one of their open-door weekends (either Easter weekend or the penultimate weekend of November). During these weekends the winery is adorned with long tables where everyone finds their place: long-time friends, locals as well as newcomers.
Cave de l’Aubras. L'Aubras, 41120 Cormeray – France
Les Banquettes Rouges, Blois.
Located in Blois old town, in a semi-pedestrian street, near the castle and the St Nicolas church, the Banquettes Rouges team welcomes you in a warm and cosy atmosphere. The menu pairs the décor: traditional, tasteful, and inventive. Whether for a lunch on-the-go or for a romantic dinner, we’d recommend that you push the door of this neo-bistro which is like no other.
Auberge du Bon Laboureur, Chenonceaux.
As the Cave de l’Aubras, the Auberge du Bon Laboureur is a family affair. Founded in 1786 as a coach house, and taken over by the current owner’s great-grandfather in 1902, the Auberge du Bon Laboureur has expanded higgledy-piggledy ever since: successively encompassing the neighbouring houses, tower and old village school.
Auberge du Bon Laboureur. 6 rue Bretonneau, 37150 Chenonceaux – France
Many thanks to Ludovic from Chez Vous Chai Moi for sharing some of his secret places in the Loire Valley with us.