Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wine tasting around the Rhone

There is so much wine in the Rhone valley it is hard to decide where to start drinking, I mean tasting! Lucky for us we were with others who also were interested in some serious tasting so we got to explore the varietals and wine growing area.

The French love their wine as you know, look how civilized it is to have a glass on the train- in little glasses sealed with foil! And it wasn't the swill that you get on American flights!


But of course there is cheap wine in France also, and you can find barrels of it at the local Carrefour!

But we were there to taste amazing Rhone wines and so that is what we did! One day we spent the afternoon at the co-op just on the way of Beaumes-des-Venise, a charming tiny town that literally looks like it has sprouted out of the side of a hill. The co-op was great as you could taste from different producers with many different styles. There were pages of wines available so we all just picked a few and then shared tastes. The prices were amazing and many very nice $11 bottles found their way back to the chateau for us to enjoy with our dinner. A few dessert wines even found their way back home to Seattle!

The next day we all made our way to Chateau de Beaucastel, you'd be hard pressed to find 7 more excited wine enthusiasts! The grounds are small and quite ordinary but the wines are anything but. And the terroir here is very different with large river rocks scattered about holding in the water and making the vines very strong.



We were incredibly lucky as the gentleman who normally gives the tours and tastings had to go meet with the negotiant so we were with Marc Perrin whose family owns Beaucastel!

I can really go on and on about the amazing wine, winemaker pride and gorgeous house and cellars here. It was such a treat to see and taste it all!


After a bite to eat in Chateauneuf du Pape (another charming hilly town) we all headed into Cave du Verger for some more tastings. This is basically a wine shop that specializes in the wines of CdP and also does tastings. We had a fabulous time with Jean Baptiste who had us taste some very amazing wines, most completely unavailable in the states as the quantities made are quite small. And then there was a test! We didn't pass but we had a great time trying to name the fruits as we smelled them in order in one last glass of wine.


You might think that we would be a bit tired of tasting after all that but we weren't! Our friend Abra was nice enough to arrange a tasting at a small family run winery just north of CdP called Chateau Montfaucon.

The wine here is so good and the staff was over the top nice. As we bought some to take home there seemed to be extra bottles of wine being handed to us. "un cadeau", a gift. And that is exactly how we felt about our week of wine tasting- what a gift!

Well we might also have felt a bit fuzzy!

Photos