This area is a huge wine-producing area. It’s only fitting that we spend at least some time doing some wine tasting, so that was the plan for Monday. But first, Roy and I left Kathy and Ron with some peace and quiet and took the car to do a big “staple” shopping at the Carrefour.

While we were gone, Ron started on the delicious dish he wanted to prepare for us – originally for supper, but we all decided that it would be a good idea to have nice full bellies before the vinyards, so we’d have it for lunch. It’s a sort of casserole made with ground beef and pork, cauliflower, onions, nutmeg, cheese and cream. How bad can it be with those ingredients? It’s called Schöne Melusine. Real comfort food!

Right after it went into the oven, Carole (the caretaker) and the dishwasher repair man came – good timing! The dishwasher was having some problems, i.e. not working, and I’m glad to say that the repair man was able to fix it in about 20 minutes! That was also perfect timing, as they were finished and out just before the Schöne Melusine came out of the oven!

I must say that I’ve grown very fond of Carole. She is a lovely, cheerful, tremendously helpful person. She always has a big smile, is eager to help with my French, and no matter what the issue or question it’s always “no problem!”. She’s given us some tips about the vinyards and several other things in town, and it really feels like she’s taken us under her wing. She is a wonderful ally!

SO, out of the oven comes the Schöne Melusine! It’s beautiful!! See for yourself:

Schone Melusine

The chef!

Dig in!

 It was absolutely delicious! And a little French bread to sop up the yummy sauce was the icing on the cake!

OK! We realized that we’d better get moving after lunch, or we’d end up taking naps!! I’d done some research on the vinyards, and we picked a tentative three, put them in a logical order, and headed off the the car.

Jeeves hadn’t been able to find the exact address for the first one, but once we were on the right road, we figured that we would be home free. There are signs all over the place for all of these vinyards: this is big business around here!

We were headed back to the same area in which we’d been the day before, and the drive was beautiful. We finally turned onto the road for the vinyard, and started scanning for a sign. Well, maybe it was at the other end of the road…the road got smaller, then turned into a dirt road…and then there was a roadblock barring further progress.

Gosh darn it, it must be at the other end of the road – now how can we get there? I had some ideas from looking at the map display on Jeeves, so we turned around (being careful not to fall into the big ditch along the side of the road) and retraced our path.

By this time, several of us in the car were feeling, shall we say, a bit pressé, and a WC would have been most welcome! We actually saw a sign for one as we passed a car park, so we pulled in, but couldn’t find it. Maybe it’s over there…?? Nope that seems to be the school whose property we just drove through!

At this point we’re thinking, “Here we are passing all these other vinyards looking for a certain one that we may or may not find – why not just stop into one of them and do some tasting and make ourselves comfortable?” Which we did. Definitely a good move. I’m finally learning, in my old age, not to force things. If it’s not working out for some reason, see what else is presenting itself. Saves a lot of sweat and tears, and opens you up to serendipity.

Well, this was a fine first tasting, but it felt more like a wine store that also let you taste. The wines were fine, but we weren’t overly enthused. I did buy one bottle, however, as it was in my price range, and tasty.

Onward! Fortunately, Jeeves did better with this second vinyard. It’s on the top of a big hill, and the drive up was spectacular! The property itself, once we got there, was just stunning!! We drove into the estate, and down to the tasting room. There was an arched green door with a bell outside – you were asked to pull the rope and ring the bell for entry.

We were greeted by the nicest young man, who would be our host for the tasting. We had a tremendously jolly time with him, learned a lot about the region’s wines, (for the most part, they need to age substantially, 4 – 5 years, before they are “ready”), and ended up buying both a bottle of red and a bottle of their “cognac” (although they can’t call it that, since it’s not produced in the right region).

We had tasted some really delicious wine, learned a lot, and had lots of laughter and merriment. What more can one ask? What a wonderful day!! Check out the next post for some photos.