• Mangevins (Tain L'Hermitage)

In the beautiful wine soaked hills in the south of France, the river is a source of life as much as the wine and food are part of the culture.  In a little town, called Tain L’Hermitage, we had stopped for a view, a personal story, wine tasting and a delicious lunch at Mangevins.

Beautiful view from the lookout.

Bumble bees in the lavender.

Mulberries full and ripe by the chapel.
Being told by locals that ‘it is the best’ during my wine making stint in 2012, I was happy to see this favourite still running, open and with a table to spare when we dropped in.  This was my first experience at this restaurant and it was a much awaited one.

The set menu can accommodate vegetarians, but the wine and dessert were the highlights.  I ordered a glass of Condrieu – there is nothing better than French viogner, the Australians are nothing in comparison – wanting to make the most of what the region does best.  It was delicious.  Possibly one of the best I have ever tasted.  In fact I was so excited by it, that my mum (who I have never seen drink in my entire life) asked for a taste.

The wine was a viogner by Domaine Merlin Francois, 2010.  It held strong acid whilst being light, fruity and a full viogner.  Fruits were of fresh white peach whilst a soft nuttiness remained on the end.  As it opened it brought out fresh green grapes and pineapple.

Entree was a large, skinned coeur de bouef tomato cut into a round and served with green lentils.  With the food, the wine had a beautiful nuttiness of oak.

Main course was wild rice cooked in butter with cabbage and beans.  It was tasty, not cooked like a risotto but as if all the ingredients were prepared separately.

We were dreaming about the dessert for many days to come.  We all ordered the same for this option: a Valrhona white chocolate tart with fresh raspberries.  The pastry was hard and buttery like shortbread.  The raspberries were massive, juicy and ripe.  The crème was delectable, creamy and sweet with the white chocolate.  Each part was perfect; fruit, crème, pastry.

After the meal we stopped off at my favourite wine shop, Compagnie de l'Hermitage, where the lovely George engaged us in tastings and wine education.  More cakes, more wines, and then a quick look at the Valrhona chocolate centre for a luxurious sugar overload.

This town will always make me smile and reflect on the amazing time I spent working in the winery.  I knew it was beautiful, I knew the wine was delicious, but taking my family there, who were experiencing it anew, I was struck just how special this place is.  We walked up to the look out with a spectacular view of the towns and river below.  As the weather started to cool and the light grew dim, we headed back along the country road to Lyon - past vineyards, pastures, chateaux and my own self with my soul begging to stay a little longer.

6 av du Dr Paul Durand
26600 Tain L’Hermitage
+33 4 75 08 00 76

La Compagnie de L'Hermitage
7 Place du Taurobole 
26600 Tain l'Hermitage
+33 4 75 08 19 70