Tour de South France

 

FullSizeRender 2.jpgThis is Ardeche. By far, my favorite stop along this quick lil wine tour but before we get here, we stopped by a few other places along the way.

NARBONNE AND GERARD BERTRAND IMG_0425.JPGThe sacred plot of L’Hospitalet, protected from the wind by the giant cliff we stood upon, these grapes produce some of the best wines for Gerard Bertrand. Being so close to the sea, the salty air gently sweeps in to caress the beautiful biodynamic fruit produced here. We tasted wine from this plot, but also these too. IMG_0418.JPGAn excellent representation of the multiple vineyards in the region. We received VIP treatment at L’Hospitalet. I highly recommend a stay at the Chateau. Our ‘splurge’ of the trip. The 14 Euro breakfast spread I will dream about for months.

Eating butter like candy. I made sure to take handfuls of those cute wrapped butters to enjoy for days to come. Gorgeous food. The dinner was dazzling as well.

Not to mention the sunset from the window!!! IMG_0431.JPGThe night was so illuminating after a brief thunderstorm rolled through. We decided to drive the 12 minutes into the Narbonne city center. IMG_0427.JPGWe aimlessly wandered into this big old beauty.IMG_0440.JPGWe noticed people walking through a guarded gate into the center. Didn’t look like you needed tickets nor were people paying so, we walked in too. This is what we discovered.IMG_0443IMG_0447An amateur open air film/theater festival. It was great. We sat through about 35 minutes of a very dramatic, all French spoken, short theatrical performance, then we quietly exited. Free entertainment is always appreciated. We continued our stroll through the city. IMG_0442.JPGA cute river boat community exists here. The moon was perfect, the wind was fierce,  and I actually got to wear my sweater and leggings. Two thumbs up! I was almost tempted to send those two things home along with the seven pairs of socks I packed. Seriously, I’ve warn one pair of socks. I guess I was saving up for mountain hikes in Switzerland. We will see what happens…

TO THE MOTHERLAND

Having a car for two weeks is crucial. Freedom in France. Driving off the beaten path to all theses gorgeous little wine regions I’ve only stared at on a wall. Here is that wall.IMG_6282.JPGThis is Blackbird Wineshop in Portland, Oregon, USA. My workplace for the last year and a half. My inspiration for seeking the smaller wine producers in Europe. The experience I’ve gained just through tastings at the shop is monumental. Thank you Andy Diaz. You rock bossman. FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Alright, before I start getting all nostalgic and sentimental and sappy,  we get back into the journey. Next up…this gem of a town. Avignon and the bridge that ends.FullSizeRender.jpgAnd sunflower fields with castles…FullSizeRender.jpgAnd god-fearing churches like this…FullSizeRender.jpgBut really cool vibes overall…

Just one afternoon spent taking all of this in. Next up, Tavel. FullSizeRender.jpgLiterally, rosé. Heavenly amounts of the beautiful pink wine I adore. Rosé for days. Mmmmmm. I stopped into one of the producers we carry to see what they have going on. Rainbows apparently…IMG_8446.JPGWith vintage signs from the good ole days IMG_3901.JPGAnd wines with labels created by the very monks who planted these grapes FullSizeRender.jpgYeah. Big time like here. Tasted some wine from here too…FullSizeRender.jpg

We slept in a sleepy village named Caderousse which I chose because it is in the middle of all these little regions I wanted to dive into. Caderousse is a tiny walled city with this blessed structure with that bell on the top. IMG_3886.JPGI guess it was some sort of gift to the king, I don’t know the whole story, but let me tell you. This ‘gift’ made sure to let us know what time it was on every hour of every day not only just once, but two minutes later on every hour, twice. What a gift!

Regardless, it was cute. I liked the cross at the church. IMG_3879.JPG

We then drove to a place where it is said that there is a cave. In this cave, there are some of the oldest drawings from any living being anywhere in the world. I then found out it’s now a replica of the original found in 1994. Lame. We passed on paying the 14 Euro each to see the fake Caverne du Pont d’arc, and took a breezy drive through what is called Gorges de l’Ardeche. Spot on! FullSizeRender.jpgYay Nature! We were even greeted by the local mountain goats. They were totally huggable. FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderMore awesomeness FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderMade me crave being in a kayak. It is my mission for the next blog to get in a kayak and paddle the begeezus out of a body of water. I miss my kayak. Big time.

Wine-thirty. Here we land. One of Andy’s favorite little producers. IMG_3853.JPGMas de Libian. Tiny little place. I was lucky enough to set up a meeting with Aury, the son of Helene. Just a family run operation six generations deep, Mas de Libian is doing it right. I appreciated every little thing happening here. Just beautiful and organic as possible.

Humble and real, we were shown around the property and tasted the 2016 vintages which many are already sold out. They are rocking that operation. Just the 7 of them. Admirable. You really gain a new level of appreciation for things when you can go put yourself in their shoes. Mike is even pumped to dive in and ask questions and learn right along with me. It’s truly awesome. A happy day. FullSizeRender.jpg

Then…FullSizeRender.jpgAhhhh…

I guess this is kind of the heart of it all in France. A small region, all hoping to produce the most amazing wines, and tell the world about it. Unfortunately, when you go here to taste, most producers are tasting very young vintages so you really can’t capture the aging that happens with these wines. A couple producers took us in to give us a quick tour.

A beautiful region indeed. All labels stem from the castle that has dominated the region for the last 800 years. This is what remains since the original construction in the year 1317. FullSizeRender.jpgIMG_3933.JPGFullSizeRender.jpgPardon my French, (what does this even mean?!? Especially now because I’m actually in France ), but daaaaamn. You could feel the history here. FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderIMG_3965.JPGI feel incredibly grateful being in the presence of such historical things. My soul resonates deeper here.

Alas, we must move on. Again. Back to the ‘Medi’. Hello Cassis. FullSizeRender

And Bandol, Aix-en-Provence, and Cote-d’Azur. I only wish we could have stopped for three days in each place but we are smashing it all into 10 days. We end in a lovely country home in Pignans surrounded by vineyards and close to a ravishingly sparkly beach. FullSizeRender.jpg

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I’m tired. Exhausted actually. To be honest, I’m ready to hunker down for one whole week somewhere. For 6 weeks we have been moving, usually every three days. No kitchen to cook in, no washer to wash clothes, no alone space to meditate and practice yoga. It’s a bit maddening at this point. My body is screaming at me to settle and slow down, to regroup, rejuvenate, and rest. Originally, our plan is now to head into Switzerland, but listening to the universe, we may change our course. Stay tuned for the next adventure. Much, much, love and peace to you loved ones. Again, your support keeps us moving. Until next time….

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