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By this Author: dtbradley

Chateauneuf-du-Pape & Vacqueyras

sunny 23 °C

Wine tasting in Chateauneuf-du-Pape today. First appointment was at Beaucastel who has a longstanding partnership with Tablas Creek in Paso Robles. Membership at Tablas Creek has its previlage as we were able to get in for a special tour and tasting. It is a beautiful property. The current owners purchased the land in 1909 just as the phloxerah was spreading through France. It is rare to have all the vineyards by the property as Beucastel does. Over the years the family has grown (they are now on the 5th generation) and so have the vineyards and brands in the family.  After the tasting we went into Chateauneuf-du-Pape for lunch. Probably the least favorite of all the meals to date.  Next we headed to a small winery in Vacqueyras, Le Sang des Cailloux. We had a small tour and tasting.  We purchased 2 verticals (2011-2013) of their old vine red wine, "Cuvée de Lopy".  Last stop was the supermarket where we picked up some trout filets for the evening meal and a leg of lamb for Tuesday. The evening was spent enjoying the awesome views of the Luberon range and valley below, excellent food and great company. 

Posted by dtbradley 03:08 Archived in France Comments (0)

Beautiful day in Provence

sunny 25 °C

The only plan for the day was to go to the market. Everyone but Mike and Cheryl came along. In addition to a number of things for dinner we bought a variety of fragrant soaps and Jackie found a sweater she liked. After the market we tried to go to the Intermarche (grocery store.). When we entered the lights were off in a number of the aisles.  It was closing time for the day, so we had to split off and try and get as many items as possible on our list.  Locals were doing the same and grocery store employees were herding and yelling at everyone to stop shopping. Back at the house, people played cards and hung out at the pool. Even though the water was cold, Troy, Mike and Bob decided to do synchronized jumping/ diving into the pool.  After a few dives, Gary joined the fun.  Cheryl took pictures to document how well the synchronization went.  After all the fun, dinner prep began. We started with grilled eggplant smothered in a tomato sauce with herbs from the house garden.  We also had risotto to make but we were unable to obtain stock for the rice.  Improvising we used the juice from the pork the night before and everything worked out fabulously.  Dessert was macaroons from Aix en Provence.

Posted by dtbradley 03:06 Archived in France Comments (0)

Provence - Day 1

sunny 24 °C

Slept in late and didn't get up until 9:30 am. By the time we got to breakfast they were starting to close down, but we got some eggs and coffee. Walked around the property for a while and put my feet into the Mediterranean Sea.  At 11:30 pm we headed off to the house via a stop for more wine as Mike and Rita would not have time.  We drove along the coast for awhile and then headed inland towards Aix en Provence. We arrived about 10 minutes early to Chateau Simone where we were picking up wine. There was no tasting, only purchasing wine. The current family bought the winery in 1830.  It was a beautiful place.  We then went into Aix en Provence to get oil, bread, tapenade and cheeses.  Troy dropped us off and then parked the car, but wasn't sure if it was a valid parking place. Bob and Cheryl stopped at a macaroon store and Troy went to see if he could find coffee, but didn't see anything so he went to get the car which was good as the car checker was 3 cars away when he got there.  We were then off to the house. Found it without too much trouble. The individual who walked us around, did not speak any English so it was an interesting exchange.  Chef Sofia showed up shortly after we arrived and started cooking while we hung out drinking wine and waited for others to show up. The Reed's were next. We started to play cards and the Manowski's and Keener's showed up around 7 pm. We showed them around and then had an outstanding dinner.  After dinner we cleaned up and then played more cards before bed.

Posted by dtbradley 08:09 Archived in France Comments (0)

Monaco

sunny 24 °C

Got up at 6:15 a.m. to get ready to head to Monaco. Troy slept in until 7:00 am. Had a quick breakfast and then drove to Cannes to catch the train. After a slight bit of confusion, we retrieved out tickets and were on our way. We got to Monaco on time at 11:19 a.m.  There was a yacht show going on in the bay. We walked as close as we could get to the yachts, but we were not allowed to go in any of the boats.  Walked around for a while seeing the boats from higher vantage points as we made our way towards our lunch restaurant. At 1 pm we ate at La Montgolfiere.  The food was very traditional and tasty but it wasn't as good as the night before.  After our lunch, we walked to Monte Carlo and saw the Casino as well as other yachts. On our way back we stopped at a cafe and had a bottle of wine and some Perrier. The cost was more than lunch. We spent 6.5€ per Perrier. Crazy expensive!  Afterward we made our way to the train station to head to Nice. The train was 20 minutes late and there were a lot of people waiting. When the train got there we had to shove our way on. We were like sardines all the way to Nice. Each stop we hoped people would get off, but more just tried to get on. It did feel good to have the door open.  It was a sweaty 20 minute train ride.  When we got to Nice we made our way to the Sea, stoping at a Hard Rock for a t-shirt and then making our way to a nice outside restaurant for some wine. At the restaurant we met some folks from Florida that were leaving on a cruise the next day.  Along the way we found out that Mike & Rita's plane was cancelled due to mechanial issues and by the time the issues were fixed the crew would have exceeded their allows duty time - extra bummer.  After drinks we meandered our way to dinner at Le Sojour Cafe.  It was a wonderful meal and the wait staff were all very friendly. After dinner we headed back to the train station and made our way back to Cannes and then drove back to the hotel.  Got back just before midnight.

Posted by dtbradley 08:07 Archived in France Comments (0)

Bandol

sunny 25 °C

First stop after getting our rental car was Bandol for wine tasting. We had one winery in mind, Domaine Tempier.  When we got there they only had one wine to taste. Two weeks earlier they had sold out of their other wine.  I think she felt bad for us and provided a map with a few other wineries. One of the wineries she recommended was on the plans to go to on Wednesday. The other one, Tour du Bon, we did not have plans for so we headed off to check them out. When we arrived, we were not sure if we were in the right place.  After looking around for a brief moment, a woman appeared. We told her we were sent by Tempier. As she was busy, she went out of her way to find someone to help us. We ended with two individuals. One who spoke spotty English and had been at the winery one week. The other didn't speak any English and had been at the winery since 2008. We tasted 6 different wines. One rose, one blanc and four reds, one of which was aging in a clay pot. Interesting!  After leaving the winery, we headed to our hotel, Miramar Beach and Spa in Theoule sur Mer.  We checked in and then got ready for dinner at a sister restaurant, L'OrBleu. Had a fabulous dinner!

Posted by dtbradley 08:01 Archived in France Comments (0)

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