L'Herbe Rouge | Restaurant | Wine bar | France | Natural wine

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L'Herbe Rouge
Restaurants and bars
Open: Thu - Sun
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 2 54 44 98 14
Address: Le Bourg (off rue de Saint Marc)
Valaire, 41120
Country: France

L'Herbe Rouge is a restaurant and wine bar in the Touraine region of France in the small, remote village of Valaire, serving good, honest country food and lovely natural wines from the surrounding regions of the Loire.
We usually arrive here after a trip through country roads from the town of Chenonceau with its fabulous chateau that almost spans the Cher River or from the city of Blois if we are heading southwards.
On arriving in Valaire we park under the trees lining the river that flows past the restaurant and then head for the outside shared tables which are usually populated with winemakers such as Herve Villemade or Thierry Puzelat.
We usually read the menu while we enjoy a crisp white Cheverny from leading natural winemaker Herve Villemade or one of the delicious wines from Puzelat.
One our most recent visit our first courses were a slice of very good foie gras served with a sweet carrot confit served on a slate slab. This was a beautiful dish and the sweetness of the carrot teamed with the richness of the foie gras perfectly. Our other entrée was a slab of country terrine served with cornichons and a small salad which we ate with crusty baguette slices.
The main courses were a well-flavoured slice of onglet steak and a dense fillet of roasted duck breast both of which we accompanied with a Touraine "La Tesniere" red from Thierry Puzelat, another of the fine natural winemakers of the area. The La Tesniere is different to many other Touraine reds as it is made from the Pineau d'Aunis grape which is one of our favourites and the red grape of choice of our friend and one of the Loire's best natural winemakers, Jean-Pierre Robinot.
It worked very well with the meats in the main course.
Desserts were a fine chocolate pudding served on a salted caramel sauce and a lovely fresh faisselle with a raspberry sauce.
Another meal is May 2011 was very satisfying. They also have spacious rooms above the restaurant if you want to stay in the area. On our visit the people at the next table were drinking the very natural sans soufre Gamay from Domaine la Paonnerie from Coteaux d'Ancenis.
And in 2013 we were lucky enough to pass through Valaire again and have yet another delightful lunch that included a soup of white asparagus with 'palourdes' (clams) and a drizzle of olive oil, a dish of smoked herring and potatoes, perfectly cooked dish of lamb chops and a faux filet of beef served with house-made chips. All were presented very simply and all were full of flavour and freshness. Despite the fact that we were deep into Loire Valley territory we couldn't resist ordering a bottle of the 2007 Prieure Roch Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire which is very hard to find, especially with a few years of age. The Gamay (a grape well known in the Loire) went perfectly with the lamb.

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