Posts tagged “macaroons

Wine Tasting à la Française

 

Today we arranged for a couple of wine tours in the immediate area.  Saint Emilion is one of the great appellations of Bordeaux and we learned a tremendous amount by just visiting two wineries.  We went to two chateaus – Chateau Figeac and Chateau Beausejour – both within a mile or two of the village.  As opposed to Napa or Sonoma, the wineries have relatively small areas of vineyards and there is tremendous history in both the winemaking process and the wine itself. For the first visit, we drove to the chateau and requested an English tour.  Our tour guide, Gwen, was not only extremely fluent in English but also very knowledgeable.  We had a group that included us, a Brazilian couple, a Danish couple, and a couple from Virginia who were extremely annoying…. you know, constant stupid questions like, “Is this a red wine?”… of course I jest, but they were still very annoying.  Here are a few pictures of the chateau and the environs:

 

 

The Chateau – home to the owners of Chateau Figeac

 

The wine tasting area – only one wine to taste.

 

 

 

 

The tasting at Chateau Figeac was in the morning and then we had another at 2:30pm at Chateau Beausejour.  The chateau was actually within walking distance of the village and our hotel.  We had a private tour with Patrick who had previously worked in Napa and Sonoma and again was fluent in English.  He also gave us all sorts of little tidbits of information that we had never heard.  First of all, the wine for this chateau was stored in underground limestone caves – you’ll see the pictures below.  Apparently, these caves were dug centuries ago to claim the limestone which built the entire village.  The entire area including the village is built upon these caves below and are all interconnected….. amazing.  In addition, the limestone is very easy to cut underground because it contains so much moisture – Patrick showed us the humidity within the caves and it was 98%.  Evidently this keeps the wine at a stable temperature with the proper moisture.

 

 

The wine barrels

 

 

More of the caves

 

Of course with all of this walking around and education, we needed a sugar break to build up the energy.  We stopped at one of the many macaroon shops and grabbed a small bag:

 

 

Chocolate, raspberry, vanilla….. and extremely light.

 

And to end the day before dinner and to celebrate my birthday, we had a glass of rose champagne on the terrace of the hotel.  I love this shot of the champagne glass reflecting the village behind.

That’s it for tonight.  Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful birthday wishes.  We’ll be in Saint Emilion one more day.

 

 

Cheers….. à votre santé!

 


Saint Emilion

 

 

The trip from Paris to Bordeaux on the train was fairly uneventful.  When we arrived at the train station, it took us forever to find the car rental agency.  Then, of course, the car we had requested (one with GPS) wasn’t available.  After lunch and a couple of comical episodes, we were able to exchange the car and were well on our way.  It’s actually pretty funny… the car is a great diesel Peugeot, stick shift (they still make those?), and a navigation device that only offers directions in French.  She has a wonderful voice so it makes the turns and roundabouts even more fun.  The difference between straight ahead and turn right is “tout droit” vs “droit” – better pay attention or you might miss your turn.  LOL

We arrived in Saint Emilion and checked into the hotel.  Since it was Sunday afternoon, there were a ton of visitors (mostly French) in the small town – it’s absolutely beautiful!  These are the views from our room:

 

 

And then a few more from the street below:

 

 

 

The town is famous, of course, for its noble wines but is also known for its macaroons…. haven’t tried them yet but it’s next on the list.

 

 

 

 

We had dinner at a very small restaurant in the village on a very steep inclined street – so steep I almost lost my balance on several occasions.  Anyway, the dinner was great and we sat next to a couple from Cape Town, South Africa.  We talked throughout dinner and found out that the husband was originally from Belgium – sorta reminded me of Hercule Poirot.  Those Belgians are hiding in the most unusual places, don’t you think?

In closing, here are a couple of shots of the town after dark.