Clos la Néore
I read the response to my enquiry with hope. “Do you know the house with the grey shutters in the centre of Chavignol?” it asked. I have to confess, although I have visited this famous hamlet just a stone’s throw from the town of Sancerre several times, I am not familiar with the decor of all the maisons that line the narrow road that bisects it. In the 21st century, however, such shocking gaps in my knowledge can easily be addressed; on a virtual walk through the centre of Chavignol, using a certain well-known online mapping system, I was soon able to locate the house as described. I replied that I knew it. “Meet me there, at 11 o’clock” was the response.
Just a few weeks later I found myself loitering at the front gate of a house in Chavignol, a few minutes before the allotted time, wondering if my contact would show. It felt a little like the inside of a Len Deighton novel, but sadly I’m no Harry Palmer, and as I lingered there I am sure I had more the air of a befuddled tourist and not so much the accomplished spy. Let’s just say I am more of a kook (the David Bowie kind) than a spook.
My thoughts soon bumped back to reality when I saw Anne Vatan approaching me. Our greetings quickly done, we turned around and saw approaching us, from the opposite end of the hamlet, Nady Foucault of Clos Rougeard. This was no coincidence of course; Anne and Nady are married, and my appointment with Anne turned out to be an appointment with both, which brought a slight feeling of déjà vu to the meeting as I had, by coincidence, spent much of the previous day tasting with Nady in Chacé. The second round of greetings done the three of us headed up through the village to the Clos la Néore cellars. As we walked, I quizzed Anne (pictured above) on the history of the domaine, which is of course the history of her family.