Showing posts with the label france

Full Last Day of Tasting Roussillon

Eric Aracil, Export Manager, Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon , was there to greet me first thing in the morning at Hotel Metropole in Perpignan. It was my last day in this wine region and we had lots of wine to taste. It was another scenic drive as I once again saw the diversity in the soil of this area between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. We were actually heading closer to the mountains into the driest area in Roussillon. Our first stop was at Domaine La Casenove in Trouillas , where the Montes family and winemaker Jean-Luc Colombo had managed to make wine from a land filled with clay and pebbles. They had a lot of practice in doing so as this family had been here for more than 400 years. I liked the selection of wines at Domaine La Casenove, which included dry reds like syrah and the sweeter muscat. The Muscat de Rivesaltes is dessert wine perfected, with notes of honey, apricot and kiwi. Our ride to Domaine de Nidoler

Water and Wine in Roussillon, France

It was a day full of beautiful surprises as I got to see incredible scenery while exploring the wine region of Roussillon . I started the day with my favorite French breakfast of yogurt, fruit and pan au chocolat. I never eat the same thing for breakfast at home, but this seems to work well to start a day of wine tasting. Virginie Hurault from Vins du Roussillon picked me up at the Hotel Metropole in Perpignan for our trip to the mountains and the sea, further into the south of France. The scene was like nothing I had scene. There were vineyards up mountains and in what looked like black dirt. The Mediterranean Sea was a glimmering turquoise and the houses on the hillside were unmistakably European. Our first stop was at a small store in Banyuls sur Mer, where we met with Jean-Francois Deu, owner of Domaine du Traginer .  The shop also sold other local wines and we tasted a few. I was taken with the 2007 Domaine du Traginer Collioure Blanc, a buttery vanilla whi

Day One Wine Exploration in Roussillon

The weather was not cooperating the way we wished, with clouds and rain most of the day. It didn’t put a damper on my day as I had waited a long time to get to this area and was excited to be in the South of France. Eric Aracil, Export Manager, Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon , picked me up for a full day of wine tasting in the Roussillon region. He apologized for the weather and explained how unusual it was since this area actually gets 320 sunny days per year. I listened to him talk with pride as I enjoyed the beautiful landscape changing in front of the mountains. There were areas of green, but also many spots where it looked like the vines were growing right out of black! These are just a few of the things that make Roussillon unique from other French wine areas. Our first stop was at Domaine Piquemal , a family-owned winery that was now in the hands of the fifth generation, Marie Pierre Piquemal. She greeted us in the brand new building that now

Reaching Roussillon

It was an uneventful start to the long trip from home to the city of Perpignan in the wine region of Roussillon , France. I didn’t get upgraded on the American Airlines flight, but I did get a seat in the emergency row so I was able to spread out a little and get a bit of sleep. I had plenty of time before my afternoon flight, which was a good thing since I had to change in Paris from Charles de Gaulle to Orly Airport. That trip wasn’t quite so uneventful as a disruly passenger on the bus held us up quite a bit. I’d like to tell you what it was about, but my limited French could not come close to translating that conversation! From Orly, I took a short flight to the south of France, where Roussillon is located between the  Pyrenees  Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. It was my first visit to this region and I was excited about checking out another area of French wine. I would soon learn that this was much different than any other I had visited. I had a chance to r

Relaxing in Maho Beach, St. Martin

It is very rare that I am traveling and have a totally free day. Quite honestly, I woke up totally baffled about what to do. Then I remembered that I was on the Caribbean island of St. Martin and the fact that the internet wasn’t working very well and I had nothing scheduled might not be bad at all. The weather seemed to be about the same each day of my trip – partly sunny in the 70s with a little bit of rain at some point.  I went to the buffet at the Sonesta St.Maarten  Ocean Terrace Restaurant for an egg white omelet filled with veggies, saving my calories for the scrumptious croissants. I then headed out to explore the large property before heading downtown. The hotel is directly in the center of Maho, a small town filled with stores, restaurants, clubs, a market and even a Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop. I walked around a bit exploring, though nothing really caught my eye worth a stop.  I went back to the Sonesta for lunch at the Palms Grill Restaurant. It’s set outsid

Tasting the Southwest Wine Region of France

I’ve been lucky enough to make it to the wine regions of France at least once a year. Each year it gets more difficult to choose where I am going. Sometimes, it’s all about timing. That was the case this year when I made the decision not to go to Southwest France. Fortunately, with the help of some of the wineries there and a few of my friends, I was able to taste through the area without leaving my dining room. This wine region is an area that doesn’t get a lot of notice. The area around Toulouse is in the Midi-Pyrénées region, the center of the southern section of France. It soil benefits from the climate of being directly between both the Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans. It is also near to the border of Spain. The wines we tasted were chosen for fall enjoyment and as good choices for Thanksgiving from Domaine Duffour , Domaine du Moulin , Chateau d’Aydie, Chateau Le Roc , Tarani ad Saint-Mont. I will leave the full point system to Wine Spectactor, but I brought in so