E X P L O R I N G W I N E C O U N T R Y
Being in the land of wine, we of course wanted to sample some of it! Our gîte was within a fairly short drive of Beaumes de Venise, Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and we explored each of these beautiful towns, stopping by the local wine caves as we went to taste and buy their wines. We were, in fact, in time for the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine festival and had a lot of fun witnessing the medieval parade and sampling some truly spectacular wine.
One of my very favourite days, though, was when we visited both Beaumes de Venise and Gigondas. I was surprised by how pleasantly un-touristy both towns felt, and the stunning views across the vineyards from Gigondas in particular were absolutely breathtaking.
B E A U M E S D E V E N I S E
Our first stop of the day was Beaumes de Venise. I have a particular love for sweet wines (rather disappointingly, not many people seem to share this taste), so I was very excited to sample one of my favourite dessert wines in Beaumes de Venise itself.
We bought a bottle to take back to the gîte, and the considerate man serving us gave me a great tip for using Beaumes de Venise as a delicious aperitif: simply pour a finger or so into the bottom of a champagne glass and then top with prosecco. Delicious, easy and even the non-sweet wine drinkers amongst us loved it! I’ll definitely be making these simple cocktails at my next dinner party in London.
After our stint of wine-tasting, we wandered along the steep, narrow lanes of the town, trying to decide where would be a good spot for lunch.
We ended up back in the main town square, opposite the pretty church at a restaurant that offered a charming outdoor terrace and an inviting menu. I went for a salad with foie gras and smoked duck, alongside our beverage of choice for the summer: rosé!
The French really know how to make a salad spectacular. Not for them indifferent lettuce and depressed tomatoes, with a few bits of chopped avocado and chicken thrown into the mix. Instead, you get a plate piled high with ingredients bursting with colour and flavour, arranged like a work of art. Delicious!
G I G O N D A S
After our lunch, we piled back into the car and continued our journey to Gigondas. Here, we tasted rosé and their famous red wine; again stocking up on bottles to bring back to the gîte and to my Dad’s flat in Geneva.
Gigondas was one of the towns I loved the very best from our time in Provence. It was heavenly to make our way through the beautiful streets, climbing higher and higher until we reached the herb garden that grows at the very top, above the church. I felt like I was on top of the world, seeing the French landscape stretched out beneath me, with the scents of rosemary and lavender wafting in the air.
Yes, I think it’s easy to see why Gigondas was my favourite (the wine’s not bad either…).
Have you done any wine-tasting in France? Where did you go?