It feels like I have been away from my blog for sometime now. In fact I have only had 2 posts since the beginning of April and it is now May 19. In the last 42 days I have only spent 14 in Canada as I was traveling for work as well as a long awaited Southern France vacation to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday. So yes I am pretty lucky and I have new experiences and ideas for Vines and Voyages.
Back in the winter when I was planning the France vacay, I was trying to make sure I had everyone’s needs taken care of, @benton8tor loves the outdoor activities, my mom the markets and my dad, well he just loves the colours and lifestyle of Provence. So I made sure we hit up lots of local markers, scheduled a hike for @benton8tor and booked a gite so my dad could enjoy his coffee on the patio overlooking grape vines every morning with his fresh croissant. But for me, I wanted to make sure I did lots of wine tasting. Now I am a big fan of wine tours as an introduction to a region ( Nowhere is this more helpful than Beaune) but my absolute favourite activity is discovering local wineries. This is best orchestrated for me by driving around the villages looking for sign that say ouvert and degustation and me screaming stop @benton8tor. Not sure how we discovered this way of tasting wine but I am pretty sure it links back to the Lancon de Provence tourist office which gave us a map of wineries when we asked about tours. Either way I much prefer driving around the region and finding the local wineries.In fact on a recent visit to Jura, which has fascinating wine, I failed to see the local degustation signs scattered amongst the countryside. Jura is beautiful but it did not stop me sulking to @benton8tor that I didn’t feel like I was in France without the signs and impromptu tastings. He just rolled his eyes. And we still did tastings
So this last vacation, I had planned on leaving some ‘drive time’ for the vacation. My cousin Christopher facebooked me in February to let me know if it was alright if he joined us for part of the trip. “Of course” I say. “Great’ he responds ” I am really looking forward to wine tasting with you.”
Fast forward a few weeks and he keeps asking me about tours and I keep telling him not to worry. It had not crossed my mind, he would was expecting a formal tour. So when we finally picked him up in Avignon, he asked me how much he he owed for a wine tour.’Nothing” I tell him. He looks puzzled. I explain that we simply drive up and taste. But he wasn’t buying it.
So after the L’Isle Sur La Sorgue market. I scream stop to @benton8tor as we pass a Luberon vineyard. We drive up and indeed degustation is possible. Christopher, @benton8tor and I all taste and savour. This happens several more times throughout the vacation. 11 times to be exact and each time, Christopher who had primarily drunk Australian or Canada wine, started to appreciate the subtle differences in wine flavours, understand terroir and appreciate the process. Often with visiting the winery itself, you get the opportunity to talk to the winemaker, ask about the wine and enjoy it. So much so that you will buy several bottles for your gite. ” I can’t believe you can just drive up” he exclaims, “I love it”. I try my best not to look smug. I fail
My standouts this trip were the Luberon winery of Chateau Fontvert, https://www.fontvert.com/?lang=en the Chateauneuf du Pape winery of Chateau de la Gardine http://www.gardine.com/en/ and the Lirac Cuvee Imperial. Each of these wineries provided us with the most beautiful, silky, and complex wines of the trip. Oh yeah and @benton8tor got his beloved Provencal roses, But that and exploring France’s undiscovered wineries is for another post. Until then, enjoy.