We have officially broken in our new business, "A Taste of France Tours", with a Wine Adventure in Châteauneuf du Pape! Not only did everything run smoothly and right on time, but our clients were fun, helpful and perfect for our first tour.
The day started with breakfast, Mimosas and croissants, in front of the village church in Masmolène. Soon after our luxury bus arrived, we hopped on and started for the vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape. Throughout the ride, Christophe explained the history and geography of the region, including maps of the Rhone Valley. We were glad to get that part in before the wine tasting began and while we still had the guests attention! The first winery was Château La Gardine, a 15th century winery owned by the Brunel family. Marie-Odile Brunel greeted us and took us on an intimate tour of the winery, including the barrel room and bottling room, explaining the wine making process in Châteauneuf du Pape. A wine tasting of six different wines followed in the elegant tasting room.
Next we had a French style pique-nique overlooking vineyards at Château Mont Redon. Local meats and cheeses, juicy ripe tomatoes and bright orange apricots from the Uzès market, crusty baguette and of course, lots of wine was the spread for our picnic. Delicious, but we eagerly awaited the next winery to get out of the hot sun. Château Mont Redon was the next winery visit. Much shorter visit, lots of pictures and wines our guests appreciated and even purchased. We even got to try the house Marc, which is a brandy distilled from the material remaining in the wine press after grape pressing.
Château La Nerthe was the last winery we visited. We had a short introduction on the beautiful terrace of the chateau and then got to visit the wine cellars. The winery features what is alleged to be the oldest stone fermentation tank in France. We tasted their regular cuvées as well as the superb Cuvée des Cadettes. We even tasted a bonus bottle, a 1994 Clos de Beauvenir. There are only 600 bottles left at the estate.
The guests were happy, we were happy and it was time to get back home. The day was over and we felt successful with our mission: teaching our guests about the region, trying wines they did not know, and making everyone feel comfortable throughout the tour. We hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as we did!