Thursday, 20 August 2015

Learn One New Thing

The old adage says that you should learn one new thing every day.  Today was that!  We booked a tour of a winery and were taken through the process of the wine making.  It was quite fascinating and more than one new thing was learned.  La Cave is a co-operative of farmers that comes together to produce wine, Le Chateau is owned by one person/family and a far more lucrative business.  The soil of the different areas affects the flavor of the grape.  The vine should be at least 30 years old and the older the vine the better the grape flavor.  The older the vine the deeper the roots generally are and you want the vine to “suffer” so that it goes deep into the soil for the nutrients and therefore acquiring a better flavor of grape.  The grape is followed while still on the vine and there is an engineer that tests the grapes to see what nutrients are needed to give the grape its best flavor.  Harvesting occurs early in the morning, about 4 a.m.,when it is cooler and the juices are less free flowing.  There is a reverence to the whole process and yes someone has the responsibility for tasting every vat of wine to ensure its quality.  Not a job for the faint of heart considering the great responsibility that comes with this position.  Young vines will start producing grapes at about 3 years of age, these grapes are used for the large quantity table wines or the boxes of wine.  Nothing is wasted.  And if you see grapes being watered then they are eating grapes and the water is to make them juicier and sweeter, wine grapes are not watered forcing them to go deep into the soil for water and nutrients.
There is also a technique to wine tasting!  Once it is in the glass smell it, then taste it in its natural form, then swirl it around to circulate the sugars, this affects the taste of the wine and will tell you if you need to refrigerate for about 15 minutes to cool it and further enhance the flavours that you smell.  It was fascinating and at the end of the tour (about 11 a.m. local time) we sampled the wines that the winery offered – putting the new skills to work!  There were three whites, two Rose (one bled and one pressed) and five red the last of which was all done by hand. 

Contrary to the lyrics of Serena Ryder’s popular and catchy song Stompa Your Feet, it is a myth that the grapes are stomped by foot to press them.  There is a hand press that is used for some of the premier wines but most are done now by machine.  

Nearby town of Mormoiron

FTD goes everywhere in the world, even in these little country towns

Street view of the town

And we could not believe it hay bales in wine country, we were a little amazed!

View from the city of the country side, same area as yesterday

At the base of Mont Venteux

 Scenery of Mormoiron

And the very old homes here

This evenings sunset over the roof tops as we arrived home

the valley below the community where we are staying

The mountains in the distance with the sun setting

After a short tour of Mormoiron, we stopped at a patisserie for a baguette, then headed home for lunch and the afternoon rest time that the French enjoy!  It was our day to slow down and rest.  Our bodies are reminding us that we left Canada recovering from a bug as well as being tired and the jet lag has been harder to overcome as a result.  So participating in a French tradition seemed like a good plan – another new thing to try.  As well as letting go of the clock and schedule to listen to what our bodies are telling us.  It was a lovely way to spend the few hours before heading back out for a lovely walk this evening to Stompa Our Feet as we worked in the daily goal of 10,000 steps.

When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know.  But if you listen, you may learn something new.

The Dalai Lama

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