Thursday, March 25, 2010


One of the things we like to do when we are in Sablet is visit new villages and explore new wine appellations. These are new only for Shirley and me since the villages and wine appellations have been around for hundreds of years.

We were headed north one day last fall to visit our cousin Anne-Emmanuelle and her partner Nicolas and see their newly purchased house in Moroges, a small village in the Côte Chalonnaise region of Burgundy.

Since our travel north on the A-7 would traverse the Northern Côte du Rhone, we decided we should stop and visit Tain L'Hermitage, center of the Hermitage Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC).

The town of Tain-L'Hermitage is located just west of the "autoroute" along the left bank of the Rhone River to the north of Valence about 1 1/2 hours by car from Sablet.

Wine and chocolate make Tain-L'Hermitage a favorite stop for food and wine lovers like us. Chocolate maker Valrhona is based in Tain-L'Hermitage and bars, sauces and powders can be sampled for free and bought in the boutique on Avenue du Président-Roosevelt.

In his wonderful book Adventures on the Wine Route, reknown wine importer Kermit Lynch says "If there is any single vineyard that the Creator obviously designed expressly for wine production, it is Hermitage."

Hermitage is one hillside slanted due south overlooking the Rhone River. The surface area of the Hermitage vineyards total 300 acres, the smallest AOC in the Northern Côte du Rhone.

Syrah is the only red grape permited in Hermitage AOC wines. A small amount of white wine grapes, up to 15%, of either Marsanne or Roussanne may be blended with the Syrah.

White wines from Hermitage are made exclusively from Marsanne or Roussanne grapes.

The best way to experience the Hermitage Vineyards is to hike up the hill through the vineyards overlooking Tain-L'Hermitage. A road under the railroad track leads to the base of the vineyards which cover the hill.

This is how you get to the Hermitage vineyards.

After eating chocolate, take a stroll along the Rhone River. The town of Tournon-sur-Rhone is on the other side.

You can take a pedestrian bridge, La Passerelle Seguin, across the Rhone River, to get to Tournon-sur-Rhone. Walking along the river in Tournon-sur-Rhone offer the best view of Tain-L'Hermitage and the Hermitage vineyard.

There are plenty of opportunities to taste wines in Tain-L'Hermitage.

We stopped in at M. Chapoutier on Avenue Dr. Paul Durand. As vineyard owners and negociants, they have a wide selection of wines from Hermitage and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, since we were expected at our cousin's house, we didn't get to spend a lot of time tasting wines or go anywhere else. We will definitely return soon.


  1. I loved your website and descriptions. I purchased an old stone house in Normandy, which is lovely on 1/2 acre but a bit much for me to take care of. Would love to visit your area this summer. You're website is delightful.


  2. Thanks for your kind feedback. We drove out to Normandy to visit the beaches and memorials during a stay in Paris a couple of years back. The countryside is beautiful and we realized we really want to return to visit, explore and taste.


  3. I stumbled across your website just in time. My husband (who loves Hermitage wine)and I are traveling to visit our daughter who is studying this semester is Lyon. We are planning to visit Tain L'Hermitage. Your interest appear to parallel ours. Any further insight or suggestions would be appreciated. We will drive or take the train on Sat. - returning on Sun. On a side note... I have the pleasure on dining at Bistro Des Copains this past July. Both service and food were outstanding. Merci -Colette (San Rafael,CA)

  4. Bonjour Colette. Nice to hear from you. Thank you for the very nice feedback about Bistro Des Copains. A small world. It is an easy drive from Lyon to Tain L'Hermitage and having a car while you are there will give you a chance to get to some of the Domaines which are not right in town. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

  5. We visited, and fell in love with, Sablet in 2013 and are returning this September for two weeks. Two of our passions (in order) are wine and chocolate, so finding a blog from someone who lives in Sablet and traveled to Tain l’Hermitage seemed like kismet. The wines of M. Chapoutier are of course attraction enough, but chocolate too (here play my wife’s happy dance music) well it seems too good to be true. I also enjoyed your description of what else to do in that charming town and now cannot wait to make the day trip up the A7, Since we walked through most of Sablet on our last visit I am sure we passed your house, on this trip we will say “Merci pour l’information Michel et Shirley” as we stroll by.

    Tom and Jane (Jacksonville, Florida)

  6. Silly ignorant Rosbif.May 10, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    I am moving here from the UK in the near future to be with my soulmate and I couldn't think of a place I would rather be in the world with the best person I have ever had the fortune of meeting. Never really thought I'd be a francophile but what can I say? Everything I love the most right now in my life just so happens to be French! Feeling very excited and this article reminded me how lucky I am. Excellent read and I will be following your other blogs!

    - Rosbif.