Nothing is like waiting and after having planed our trip to France since January it was finally time to go in July. On Bastille Day (July 14) we arrived in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Château des Fines Roches. Sitting almost next to the vine we had dinner watching the sun set over the different châteaus and wine yards. What a fantastic way to start a holiday. And guess what we were drinking?! The obvious choice of course - 2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the château next-door
We spent one week in Rhone visiting both small family owned wineries and large well known wineries such as Château Mont Redon, Château La Nerthe, Paul Jaboulet Aîné and M. Chapoutier. Despite being small or large they have one thing in common and that is passion for wine and winemaking. Just like last year we met with very passionate and proud people who work very hard to craft some of the best wines in the world.
Our second week started with a weekend in Marseille. A city that neither of us really liked. It was extremely hot (even in the middle of the night), so eating bouillabaisse was totally out of the question. But most of all we didn’t like the mix of old and new that everyone finds charming. For us it was just a loud, dirty and worn down city. Leaving Marseille behind and driving east along the Mediterranean coast we headed for Cassis and Bandol and of course the wines coming from that area. The highlight of that area was most likely our visit to Château Pibarnon. The drive on a steep narrow road higher and higher up was quite an experience and I think we both let out a sigh of a relief when we finally arrived at the chateau. A magnificent chateau with a magnificent view and magnificent wine.
The final days of our trip was spent on the Rivera in Cannes and Nice. Both TheMan and I had been there before so instead of hitting the beach like everyone else (we did that too) we visited several little villages in the mountains. Visited the home of painters Renoir, Matisse and Chagall and of course just enjoyed being away from home. Sitting in a park watching people can be wonderful relaxing.
As usual we enjoyed the French food and never really had a bad meal. Some meal were of course a lot better than others. For example one night at Le Park 45 where we sat in the garden watching the sun set in the Mediterranean having gambas, sea bass, duck breast and coriander-apricot ice cream. To drink our favourite domaine in Bourgogne - Olivier Leflaive Montrachet Puligny 2009.
Another wonderful and interesting meal was at Keisuke Matsushima in Nice on my birthday. French fine dining by a Japanese chef. How about foie gras and nougat? Or pigeon breast in a Japanese style bird nest?
Also as per usual when it was time to go home after 14 days on the road neither THeMan nor I wanted to go home. For us there is something special about France, the food, the wine and the people which make us want to come back again and again. And again. And we will.
2006 Taittinger Brut Millésimé
2001 Clos du Mont Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape
2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape
2012 Château Gigognan Cotes du Rhone Vignes du Prieure
2013 Domaine d'Eole Rosé
2013 La Lauza Cuvée Aurelia
2013 Domaine de Cagueloup Bandol Blanc
2011 Telegramme Châteauneuf-du-Pape
2013 Domaine du Paternel Cassis Blanc de Blancs
2013 Château Sainte Marguerite Cru Classé
2009 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet
2010 Château Romassan Rouge Bandol
2012 Le Domaine de Frégate Cru Classé Rosé
2013 Domaine Guilbert Rosé
2013 Domaine Des Trois Filles Rosé
2011 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux Gigondas
2003 Tenimenti Angelini Brunello di Montalcino
2011 Couly-Dutheil Domaine Rene Couly
2013 Château des Demoiselles Cuvée Madame