Some of the best wines in the world come from Provence
No, we are not going to even attempt to describe all of the wines of France … not even the wines of Provence. What we will do is describe some of the experiences we have had traveling throughout Provence, particularly the Cotes du Rhone. For a more detailed travel planner, start here: Guideweb.com
Where do we start?
French Wine is organized by AOC regions, designated by the French government, each region having satisfied the officials that their wine is different … the grape cultivars used, the climate … whatever the local producers believe results in their wine being distinct from all the others.
So where do we start? At the very beginning, of course, with the very first region to receive an AOC … Chateauneuf du Pape.
Chateauneuf du Pape
On our way to Avignon, we followed one of the wine tours and then sidetracked about 8 km to stop in the village of Chateauneuf du Pape for a little degustation (wine tasting). We learned that in some vineyards, the proprietors use field rocks to keep the soil warm in the evenings. The sun will the rocks and hold the heat during the day and adds to growth during the night. so we were told by the wine keeper.
The wine keeper was busy with a customer when we arrived …and so we waited our turn. He appreciated our patience and then devoted all his attention to us. Well, maybe because we were theonly ones left. It was March. He and I hit up a conversation and so as youcan see he pulled out all stoppers. Coincidently, the owner of the Chateau was a racecar buff and.. when I heard that, I told him that my ancestors won the very first 24-hour Le Mans Race in 1923, we were friends. Well we had a topic we could relate to. Now he understood why I had an interest in France – I had historic roots. He seemed to understand we weren’t just ordinary tourists. We had roots, well sort of.
As we continued chatting about racing, the previous owner, our background, his background, the 300 proprietors of the valley, I must say he pulled out the best of his best…. And so with great pride,I proceeded to tell him more about my ancestors, the Chenards. I am so very proud of my French heritage and the family victory. (For those who are interested, my family’s cars are on display at the Le Mans auto museum. Look for #9, the Chenard-Dewalt auto. It’s a beautiful blue. By the way, they sold the business to Peugot in 1947.)
Ultimately, I purchased a lovely and pricey Chateauneuf du Pape for one of Dick’s special future birthday. More on that later.