The holiday’s work

This is not going to be a post full of tasting notes, just a few comments on a great holiday with family and friends in wine country. We stayed in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. We’d hired a house with lots of space and a pool. Given it ended up being 36C-38C on most of the days the pool was a “lifesaver”.

Our friends enjoy the same things we do, a little bit of exploring, a lot of food and drink and otherwise a chill out. We always take a few cases of wine with us and come back with a few others! There was a bit of golf at two local courses:

Provence Country Club – Good course, tight, green a little under par but great fun, we played with two such members and had a good time.

Golf Grand Avignon – A good course, more open with some testing holes and a bit of water. Only let down by a four ball in front of us not letting us (a two ball) through.

I would recommend both, definitely need to book to play in August and to get an early tee time. Wine-wise we went to Chateauneuf-du-Pape for a nose around. Other than seeing some bottles of Henri Bonneau literally roasting on the shelf in one shop it was good to get a feel for the place, I wish we’d had more time there. We had a good tasting at a shop called “The Best Vintage – Caveau D.Brunel” with Daniele Brunel and picked up a few bits.

Tasting at “Best Vintage”

Also in Chateauneuf-du-Pape we went to the Perrin set up, very slick, a good tasting and a nose at the extensive range they have now.

The following evening we managed a trip to some rugby, something that I have tried to make a bit of a tradition. We don’t always manage it but with the French season starting early, mid August, and the fact we tend to holiday in Rugby-country we have manage to take in a game or two. Aurillac vs Albi last year and Dax vs Castres a few year back. This time we went up a notch. Having noticed there was a friendly between two of the European powerhouses – Toulon and Clermont – we got tickets and drove down there. The three stands that were open were packed and the atmosphere was lively, Toulon ran out easy-ish winners. It was a warm evening and with the stadium – Stade Mayol – within a stones throw of the sea – it’s a great place. 

The Boy enjoying the action in Toulon

A couple of days later, back on the wine trail Fran, Charlie and I made the 45 minute drive up to Gigondas. I have always liked the wines and along with Barbera from Piedmont have often said that Gigondas on a restaurant list is one of the safest and least risky “places to go”. The village is a real lovely one. I saw the sign for Saint Cosme on the way into the village and stopped to see if tasting was possible. It was and a lovely 4 or five wines later I left with a few bottles and an even great appreciation of their wines! The village itself has a great centralised spot where you can taste about 80 wines and buy what you like, several places could learn from that. I would love to go back again and try some of the spots that Mr B had very kindly recommended, not only in Gigondas but all over the Rhone.

There was one other estate that we did drop in on that has vines in both Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas but has their cave down nearer L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and that was Domaine Tourbillon. An impressive set up that clearly has its sights set high. We picked up a few bottles here.

I think we’ll do the same area next year, possibly looking to base ourselves nearer to Saint Remy de Provence which seemed a lovely town. I would though recommend a visit to L’Isle sur La Sorgue – it’s very pretty.

A cracking holiday…too long to wait for next year!

A couple of cracking Whiskies along the way!
Not much smoking this year but this was amongst the best!