Monday, 22 September 2014

September 22nd 2014: France: Wine and Sarlat

Monty the Motorhome is parked up at a free Aire in the town of Sarlat-la-Caneda, the capital of the Perigord Noir, which lies in a hollow of the hills 10km or so back from the Dordogne river.

We arose this morning at our vineyard Passion and found the tasting room open for business from the start of the working day. We ventured in shortly after 9.00am and found our new friend Ted, the English chap who had spoken to us on arrival yesterday. 

Some explanation is necessary here as to why we are classing him in the ‘friend’ bracket. After I had finished writing up yesterday’s post we had some tea and were just settling down in the sunshine to look at the travel books and plan out today’s activities, when Ted strolled over clutching a bottle of wine. He said the owner had given him this bottle and would we like to try some. I was already forming the words ‘yes please’ as he added that the bottle was from their most expensive vintage!

So we had the pleasure of tasting, or more accurately slurping down, a good half bottle of 2005 St Emilion Premier Cru - priced at €39 a bottle. Now that is not expensive for top of the range - but the estate we were staying on is quite small and do not go in for the more expensive methods of production. Needless to say it was superb - long, fruity and ever so smooth. Ted stayed to chat for a while and said he would show us the wine making process in the morning.

So, in the morning he was as good as his word and ushered us out of the tasting room and into the working area. We saw the machinery used to harvest and process the grapes, as well as the fermentation vats and oak barrels where the young wine is aged and imbibed with the subtle tannins.

Ted showing Ruth the giant fermenting vats

 Tasting then took place with one of the estate staff - Ted is not sufficiently expert to do this. We went through several Premier Cru’s before deciding to purchase some cheaper 2005 vintage than we had drunk last night (apparently 2005 was one of the best vintages in last few decades), as well as a cheaper 2012 vintage that might just get opened tonight.
I refrained from drinking the tasting wine, so retaining my status as a fit and proper driver (well at least in respect of body alcohol count) and it was on up the Dordogne valley, past Bergerac, and to the town of Sarlat. This is another place steeped in history, with narrow streets dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, built in a mellow honey coloured limestone that is beautiful to look at, especially in the sunshine.

The town is full of shops selling local delicacies, the most famous of which is foie gras, as well as things like truffles, walnut wine and nougats.

The area has many geese farmers, all dedicated to producing foie gras

Back at the Aire we have decided to stay the night. The place is packed full and we back onto a busy main road, so this will be an experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment