Ile de Re Drink
"Non Potable" means do not drink the water and can be found by fountains and water pumps. You can drink water from the tap and in restaurants it is called "robinet" pronounced "Rob-in-ay"
The Ile de Re is not a noted wine area but you will find the key French wine regions included on wine lists along with local wines. Generally it is worth trying the local wines. Carafe wines in restaurants can be good value and cidre (alcoholic cider from Brittany or Normandy) is generally available. Without developing a whole web site on French wines we find the key points visitors need to know to enjoy the best of these wines are:
- For a basic wine look for Appellation Controllée (AC) on the bottle, except for Ile de Re wines which do not reach that level. Wine sold by the glass or carafe ("pichet") will usually be fresh and drinkable. Even red pichet wines may be served lightly chilled.
You get what you pay for. This can mean you pay more for particular areas than you really need to so note that Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy or Bordeaux on the label will tend to push the price up. Such wines can disappoint if you don't pay enough.
Sparkling wine from outside Champagne can be good value. Bordeaux-style red wines from Bergerac, Bourg or Blaye are often reasonably priced too. If you are going to drink Muscadet try and get Muscadet-sur-lie as it is a more interesting wine with softer acid but still goes well with fish. White Entre-deux-Mers (which may be offered with fish) can vary from producer to producer so ask the waiter.
Post-meal wines can be interesting. The French tend to drink port before the meal but there is nothing to stop you having a glass at the end (except another odd look from the waiter). Pineau de Charentes is a similar style of wine from France, a mixture of grape juice and brandy which gives a sweet, perfumed taste.
We would recommend that you drink plenty of water at lunch on your bike holiday in hot weather as you need to replenish your body’s fluids. However, that does not mean you should not add wine to the water and a jug of the local wine certainly helps the water go down.
Mass produced French beer (and German/Dutch equivalents) is freely available. Luckily, there are still small, local breweries in France and so it is on the Ile de Re. Blanche de Re produces four beers and works to the same purity rules as govern Germany's breweries.