Our 6 months’ hard work paid off as our Southern Rhône Tour was an unqualified success.
A wine club from the UK, who have already toured with us, asked us to put together a tour in Southern Rhône, so we got to work making numerous visits, checking out suitable hotels for a group of 23 persons, looking up old contacts in the region and making new ones. The week long tour was as usual varied, interesting and highly original. We visited at least 2 wine estates each day – mostly organic and independant but also larger co-operatives and had an afternoon at the Université du Vin ( a first for the group – they were very well behaved!) We took in the world famous wine areas of Châteauneuf du Pape, Valrèas, Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Baume de Venise and also the less known but equally interesting areas of Tavel, Lirac, Massif d’Uchaux, and Cairanne. While were based in the bustling market town of Nyons – famous for its black olives and olive oil – it didn’t stop us from visiting Avignon, Suze de La Rousse for the Université du Vin, L’Isle sur Sourge – the Venice of Provence, Les Dentelles de Montmirail and lots of other beautiful small provencal villages.
Of course food and music also featured in our programme and I know the group will never forget the local speciality of ‘caillette’ – a paté made with spinach which we ate in numerous places, the groaning tables of homemade dishes at the Val du Rois and the Clos du Caveau and the wonderful restaurants in Avignon, Baume de Venise and Suze La Rousse. Another highlight was the evening visit to Catrine LeGoeuil – welcomed by a manouche jazz quartet in the vinyards and savouring the flavours and warm hospitality of this tiny wine domaine. Of course the wine was the star of the week – we tasted sublime reds – exceptional rosés and whites and surprising vin doux naturel from the only IGP in the Southern Rhône allowed to do this.
Jean-Luc and I want to thank all our collaborators who made this week such a success – their passion, know how, hospitality and generosity really impressed the group and they returned to Manchester full of wonderful memories and motivated to learn even more about the wondeful world of wine.
Here’s what they said about it……….
“We had our AGM and regular meeting this evening. Everybody who went has been enthusing about everything you did and the wonderful time they had in your company. Bruno was very impressed and has been bragging (his words) to his friends about the quality of the wine and food and the wonderful hospitality we received. He is right, we did receive great hospitality, and we appreciate it.
Stories were told of your off road abilities with a coach, Alison. All were impressed with your musical talent, Jean-Luc, as well as your great knowledge of the vineyards and most importantly the people who run them.
I would like to say a personal thank you to both of you for your great support in our venture. I look forward to planning the next one with you.” (Garstang Wine Circle, UK)