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Caveau des Vignerons in Amboise: no free tastings and decidedly not friendly

We really enjoyed our September 2017 France road trip, but one stop was a little offsetting. In Rick Steves' 2017 France book as well as tripadvisor.com, it's mentioned that Caveau des Vignerons in Amboise, France (right 'under' the Chateau) offers "free tastings" from 10 different vintners. Four of us walked in to sample a few wines and buy some bottles for our upcoming overnights, and nicely asked about the tastings. One of the two ladies at the counter asked us, "What tastings?" I answered, "The one I read about." Without a smile, she said, "We don't do tastings." I said, "It says you do online and in Rick Steves' latest book." Continuing with an icy cold stare she said, "I have no idea what you're talking about, you can buy a bottle." We left. The experience was very disappointing.

Posted by
7686 posts

Perhaps, a mistake by the guide book and they are tired of dealing with travelers who have this incorrect information?

Posted by
6478 posts

To me it sounds like an untrained employee who attempted to serve you. Who buys a bottle of wine without tasting that wine first? That's crazy. Whether the tastings are free or cost a small amount is up to the establishment, but I've never bought a bottle of wine anywhere, either from a winery or a wine shop without first tasting it to see if I even liked that wine.

Posted by
489 posts

Who buys a bottle of wine without tasting that wine first?

We do it all the time. Most of the time the wine is fine but once in while.........

Posted by
1322 posts

In the Pennsylvania state stores there is no such thing as tasting. Just recently we have been "allowed" to buy wine in supermarkets but I never have seen, or heard of, any of them offering wine tasting. If you want to buy wine in Pennsylvania you have to do it without tasting.

Posted by
6478 posts

When I said I wouldn't buy a bottle of wine without tasting first I did not mean from a grocery, supermarket, liquor store. Of course I don't expect to taste wine in those establishments - except for Trader Joe's of course.☺ I have often bought wine in a grocery or liquor store without tasting it first. I was talking about a winery or a dedicated wine shop (an enoteca selling wines from different local vintners). Those places almost always allow tastings before purchase and, if not, they should. All of the ones I've been to do, both here in the US and abroad.

Posted by
1000 posts

I am almost positive that's the same place we went last summer, and they did offer free tastings.

ETA: they were very friendly, too

Posted by
3 posts

In planning our just completed two-week (and fantastic) motor tour of France, we extensively used both Rick Steves' 2017 book and tripadvisor, as well as three other books. The two most recent comments about Caveau des Vignerons (Amboise) on tripadvisor were headlined “Friendly and informative wine tasting” and “Free, friendly tasting at foot of chateau,” and Rick’s 2017 book said “offers free tastings…” We had already stayed at a number of places and ate at a number of restaurants which were in Rick’s book and on tripadvisor, and they were all terrific. (We'll have to post comments on those!) The owner of one overnight lodging near Mont Saint-Michel said that Rick himself stopped by a month ago to have a cup of coffee with her, and several other small lodging owners commented that they see Steve Smith on an annual basis. These guys are good! Hence “our disappointment” when walking into Caveau des Vignerons on September 14, 2017, and met with such an openly hostile attitude. If they had said, “Oh, it’s three euros for a tasting now,” it wouldn’t have been a problem, but we were met with cold stares and nary a smile by the two young ladies on the other side of the counter even after telling them we had read about them in Rick Steves’ book and on tripadvisor. This wasn't a mistake by Rick's guidebook (the same info is on tripadvisor); I have no idea if it's a new policy or rude behavior by two employees, but I have posted this same info on Rick's Guidebook forum under "Food & Drink" and "Travel Trips."

Posted by
3 posts

The following response from the owners of Caveau des Vignerons in Amboise, France was recently posted on my tripadvisor review which also documented our experience there on September 14, 2017.

There was, however, no misunderstanding due to "language barrier" -- and, more importantly, no reason to be rude to us and to make us feel most unwelcomed. There's better ways for them to handle their new policy.

"Caveau D, Responsable relations clients at Caveau des Vignerons d'Amboise, responded to this review
Responded 2 days ago
Hello Marshall W. Firstly we thank you for your feedback. We are very sorry if we did not understand each other maybe due to the barrier’s language. Actually, in our place, we sell a part of the production of 8 different winegrowers from the area. If people want to discover the wines, we can propose them to buy a glass. Of course, if they prefer to buy some bottles they can check the wines before thanks to a little sample. We can propose some tastings for groups accompanied by a guide as well but by bookings only. We have started the sale by glass during this last summer, so this is very new. That’s why the information you read in your guidebook or in the comments on trip advisor (comments written in 2016) are not up to date but we have contacted Rick Steves in order to fix that. Best regards."