How is this for an almost unbelievable encounter?
I was driving my 1951 TD from SW France to Cherbourg in order to participate in the Pre-War et Series T Rallye organised June 26-28 last year by the MG Car Club France. For me this was a round trip of some 2300 kilometres (1440 miles), all but 50 with top down.
I had allowed myself 2 days to arrive in Cherbourg in time for the Rallye. On the second day, around noon, I looked for a quiet place to have a roadside lunch and wound up in a lovely shady rural lane well off the secondary roads that I had been travelling on. Total tranquillity in deepest France! There was no traffic at all for nearly an hour, which was just as well as there was barely room for a car to squeeze by. However, just as I was packing up, after checking all the fluid levels, a white van appeared and the driver rolled down his window and looked at me and the car and said (in French) “MGTD! I have one too!” Then he said “I am a wine producer and my winery is just 1 km away Follow me!”
Naturally, I very quickly finished packing up and followed the white van and soon drove into the courtyard of Bernard & Philippe Luneau’s chais. They produce a special dry Muscadet (great with oysters!), other wines and very delicious Sparkling wines (white and rose) using the Champagne system. These wines in French are called Mousseux (i.e. bubbly!) since it’s not permitted to call them Champagne.
Bernard had me sample his Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur Lie (an AOC** and based only on the cepage of Melon B) and then his Perles Royales Mousseuse which was equally delightful. We went to see his lovely yellow TD and then we completed our degustation! Bernard would not let me leave without finding space behind my seat for 3 different bottles of his Mousseux!
So I can unreservedly recommend La Domaine des Deux Vallons at La Giraudiere, near the town of Gorges (Loire Atlantique, post code 44190). Bernard is also looking for Agents to help market his wines domaine.deuxvallons’at’wanadoo.fr So if you would like to combine wine and TDs – here’s a challenge for you!
Marque is of course a French word – but having a chance meeting like this in the depth of the French countryside gives a totally new meaning to the Marque of Friendship! Quelle bonne chance!!
The photo of my TD (which I imported from the USA and restored 8 years ago) was taken on the last day of the Rallye when we visited the Normandy landings and the Airborne Museum in Sainte Mere l’Eglise. The wine by this point was certainly all gone – but there is always more Chez Bernard!
Ed’s note: In French, the slang for a buddy, chum, friend is Pote, hence the play upon words for the title of the article. Just as some of us in the UK refer to ourselves as T Typers so the T-Series clan in France call themselves T Potes.
**AOC = Appellation d’origine contrôlée which translates more or less as Certified Origine subject to Control/Verification/Inspection. It means that it is a product (wine in this case) which meets the rigid standards of the product name (appellation).
Cheese, Sausage, Ham can also be AOC.