2013 Wine Tours

We have enjoyed all of our wine tours this year, and thank our clients for their participation.

On a tailored tour we were able to fit in a wine tasting at Visan before heading off to Vaison La Romaine. (if you look on our website ,www.raisinyourglass.com, at the Gallery here you will see some of the photos from this year, which also includes the very large Roman vase mentioned in a previous blog!)

After lunch in the Place Monfort we then walked down to the ancient roman bridge before heading off for another wine tasting at Costebelle and a viewing of their cellar and vast wine vats.

We then went to Cairanne and after the tasting here we walked around their sensory experience, This is an interesting and informative way of discovering how your senses are involved in wine tasting.

Domaine de la Damase was another discovery for us this year; we really like this traditional family run vineyard. They have been able to pass down traditional methods and combine with new wine technology.

In Suzette we also discovered a new vineyard Mathi Flo, and afterwards take in the views just before lunch. This was also an opportunity to take in the beautiful little 12th century church Notre Dame de Suzette that can be found at the top of the village.

Lunch time is a very important time too, so always good to find a quiet and relaxing restaurant just like Hotel De Montmirail (a link to their website can be found on our website too).

I will be blogging about other great vineyards and details of their wines. I also need to mention some of the other fantastic restaurants that we have enjoyed this summer...

2013 Wine trips

July 2013
Once again we arrived in the Vaucluse to blue skies and warm sunshine. We were also met with the typical aperitif! After this we were able to enjoy a lazy evening with a nice meal and a few glasses of wine from the local caves.
Until the arrival of our first clients we spent some time relaxing by the pool in between our vineyard visits.
It was at Beaumes De Venise that we were able to pick up their special limited edition Tour De France Muscat.
At Vacqueyras we enjoyed the local market every Friday morning and then in the evening the farmers market held at Vignerons de Caractere. It was on Friday 12th that the preparations started for this years wine fete. It was here that we sampled many of the Grand Crus from the area, along with some Cognacs. Some of the villages represented were Vacqueyras, Beaumes De Venise, Violes, Rasteau, Gigondas, Chateau Neuf De Pape and Clairette De Die. This is a great place to discover new vineyards and this year it was Domaine St Vincent. I love their Cru Vinsobres 2011. A definite addition to our wine tours and our wine cellar!
We stayed at Le Pradet for a few days, a lovely clean hotel just on the edge of the village of Vacqueyras. It was here that we got to see the support vehicles for this years Tour De France.

At Costebelle in Tulette we got to watch the AOP Cotes Du Rhone rouge being vacuum packed and boxed, this is one of the great things about our tours you get to see the vineyards at work doing their usual daily activities.
We stopped at Mas De Bouvau for an aperitif (just in case I have not mentioned it before this was the hotel of our french wedding). It was excellent to see our hosts M. et Mme Hertzog.
I like to buy the seasonal fruit and vegetables direct from the local farmers. I purchased some tomatoes and lettuce and beautiful nectarines. They could be easily eaten just as they are with their fabulous flavours but I could not resist bottling these wonderful summer flavours for later on in the year, so I made nectarines in Muscat and nectarines in brandy.
I always enjoy our meals at La Loupiotte and I do favour their woodfire Calzone!!

I think that I will start some wine tasting evenings when we get back to the UK....................


And now the inevitable blog has arrived.......as I mentioned earlier it was Frank & Connie who introduced us to this unique area of France.......the Vaucluse. It was also this couple who took us on a trip to Domaine De L'Espigouette run by Edmond Latour. I remember the day he proudly showed us a bottle of wine that had been produced by his son Bernard.......and then later again I held his son Julien as a baby perhaps too close to the crusher.
I have grown up alongside this family and their wines and it was here that I learnt about tasting and fine wines. 
It is not just about the wine but your own personal taste and learning about what you like, colour, aroma, clarity, viscosity, alcohol content, the sound of the pouring, froth/bubbles, reflection, tears and of course the taste.
This vineyard will alsways be important to me!

The discovery of other vineyards has and is fun and interesting; the result of holidays and wine fetes. Smile

The markets and local produce..

Just where should I start when it comes to the markets. One of my favourites is St Cecile Les Vignes, but others will beg to differ. All that is important is the local produce that has been brought in and displayed by the farmers, These fruit and vegetables are the natural colour and shape that they are supposed to be, and there is the beautiful aroma too!
It is a struggle to go the markets without coming away with the freshly cooked Paella or a rotisserie chicken. I love the olives, sundried tomatoes, pickled garlics and tapenades; there is such a wide selection it is so difficult to know which to buy next or even not come away with too much (Ask Pete!!)
Then there is of course the cheeses and they have come from all over France. The different nougats from Montelimar.

If these wonderful products are not enough then you have the souvenirs stalls or clothes and fashion stalls... Or you could just sit in a quiet shaded corner watching all the vibrant colours, the hustle and bustle, maybe a coffee, icecream. Maybe we should stop off at a local Cave on the way back?


I cannot blog here without mentioning my favourite wildlife see over the years. The obvious would be the pink flamingoes and the white horses of the Camargue not in the Vaucluse but the Gard. My absolute favourite has to be the lizards; it's the little ones you see either sat perfectly still sunbathing or running at high speed across the hot ground. No matter where you go they can normally be spotted maybe appearing from a crack in a wall.
The less obvious has to be the Cicada (La Cigale) only from the fact that they are so well hidden but the song is there from the first moment of warmth in the morning until the evening coolness stops them from emitting their constant noise. After a while you no longer notice it, but what I love is when we travel down by car and we come off the A7. I have to open my car windows to feel the warm air, and hear the Cicada.
Then there is the Praying Mantis , now this truly is a fantastic sight. On our last holiday Pete could not take enough photo's of a partictular Praying Mantis that perched itself on a small flower. I will get him to put this picture onto our website. (by the way this was a very small one!)

I have also seen the most gorgeous Blue Carpenter Bee, unfortunately it was in a survival of the fitest between a Preying Mantis and the Bee. Often seen buzzing around the lavender amongst the bees are the simply amazing Hummingbird Hawk Moth. I have sat and watched these for hours.


At Vaison La Romaine I remember a large ancient vase taller than my father, and then my mother spotted a perfect photo opportunity. We has to sit on an old Roman wall...my brother & I were in a hurry to remove our bottoms from this hot seat.
 Trips to the coast at Le Grau-du-Roi or La Grande Motte always seemed particularly hot. On the journey back we felt the heat on our backs combined with the dry salt and sand; one does need to be very careful at the seaside. We lost a beach ball taken away by the wind but we were lucky as opposed to the young lad who lost his dinghy when it started flipping over again and again in the wind until we saw it no more!

I always preferred the visits to the local swimming pool at Carpentras myself

I started sketching here, even though I had only turned thirteen I can still see the effects of the mistral on the trees against the backdrop of the hills on one of my very first drawings. Just a week and a half later I sketched the bell tower in Seguret and the interesting 17th century fountain...I continued to sketch having found another passion.


I cannot remember the first time I visited Roussillon, I believe I was too young to appreciate it's beauty. I had not yet truly discovered art. I only remember returning back to the campsite with very red feet! My true recollection is when I was asked what I wanted to do on my 16th birthday. I wanted to go for a trip to Roussillon and I came back with lots of photos.
I have since returned with Pete and I now want to colour all our brickwork ocre red but I have to admit to finding it tricky to decide which shade of red to buy when we were in the shop in Roussillon.

Camping at Le Brégoux

It was at Camping Le Brégoux where I grew up with the French way of life, with French friends I discovered the game of boules (which to my surprise) my father joined in a competition with a french partner and won!
Playing with other children our own age my brother Nigel & I learnt french words that would see us improve our vocabulary well beyond that of the classroom. I always think back to the occasion when I was in the playground and using the slide I stopped when I saw a wasp had settled to sunbathe. Unfortunately I had not discovered the word quêpe and was unable to tell the young boy behind me not to use the slide. Seeing him running off crying, made me learn that word.

I took part in a competition at the olympic sized swimming pool in Carpentras, trying to swim with a pair of wellington boots, to be dragged back again on a large inner tube was interesting. I can certainly recommend young children coming to France just to learn the language by playing your usual playground games.  A simple game of cards taught me the French word tricher (to cheat). My brother and I also shocked the locals by playing tennis on the courts in the midday sun, I probably would not recommed this. We borrowed bicycles from a neighbouring family, and went almond picking only to bring the bicycle I was riding back with a puncture. There was another family who owned the chip van in the campsite carpark, we named their father Fritz the chip man, we went to their house and my brother got to ride on their mini motorbike on their grounds.
The Farrugia family became firm friends (Raymond, Monique, Christel & Stephan), I was able to keep in touch with Christel from home as we became penfriends. 
Snails played a part too; we collected edible snails with the locals after very rare rain; and had them for dinner. Which reminds me of the first time we ordered them at a local restaurant called Les Arenes, they came on a puff pastry base, with frogs legs in a tomato and garlic sauce. Restaurants do seem to play a large part in my memories, I still believe that we were sat in a restaurant Relais des Dentelles in Beaumes De Venise opposite Benny Hill (I will never know for sure!)

On 18th August 1986 the family discovered the restaurant L'Oustalet in Gigondas, the meal started with us being able to help ourselves to the Chariot De Crudités, followed by Paupiettes De Veau in a provencale sauce with noodles. On this particular evening there was a storm and therefore a power cut which meant that the meal had to be eaten by candlelight . Whenever I return to the village centre up on the hill these memories come flooding back.

How it all began....

When I was just 11 years old we were camping in Switzerland; I believe by Lake Murten, unfortunately it was very rainy….My parents decided we should move southwards and set on the roads to France.  
It was at a French campsite where we met a lovely old couple by the name of Frank & Connie, they were travelling back to the UK. They told us of a place where there was warm sunshine to be found. Apparently the clouds normally avoided this particular area? 
We followed their instructions and ended up at a campsite by the name of Camping Le Bregoux, found in a little French village in the Vaucluse called Aubignan. This campsite was run by a very warm and friendly family by the name of Farrugia; we spent many a happy year here. It was here that I learnt in the early days that you should not drink too much wine.  

I also believe that it was Frank & Connie that introduced us to Domaine De L’Espigouette, run by the Latour family; Edmond Latour et Fils. I began to learn about wine, and of course wine tasting. We have continued to visit this vineyard every year, it is now run by Bernard Latour his wife and 2 sons Julien & Emilien.