Unless you knew every château name in Bordeaux, you were considered beneath contempt by every off license in the land.
Not so in France.
The entire experience is a pleasurable one from start to finish.
Everyone is welcomed, regardless of their knowledge of this noble drink.
A tariff is always on display to spare blushes when asking to taste certain bottles, and you are gently guided through your choices with as little or as much explanation as you ask for.
Some vignerons conduct the tastings themselves, which makes the experience all the more special. They will offer a fiche technique giving the minutiae of how each wine is produced for the real aficionado to file along with the cellar book and tasting notes.
Our mission today was to buy some half bottles of Saumur Champigny,at Domaine Filliatreau so my OH can imbibe when I am not in the mood, which these days, is most of the time.
We bought 12 such bottles of 2006 vintage, ready to drink, and fine to lay down for another 3 years for 40 euros.
Even though we knew in advance what we wanted, we tasted a good half-dozen other excellent bottles they had on offer.
There was no sales pitch and no pressure to buy. There were thanks and smiles in abundance.
Suffice to say we will visit again……and again.