Christie gave Dave a gift certificate for Vinécole, a school that offers courses in wine tasting. Tonight we are doing a wine tasting dinner that pairs wines with curries. Not a very French concept, but as the vinyard owner is British and worked in South African vinyards, and the people who own and are developing Vinécole are also British, it's more understandable. Matthew and Emma have amazing credentials as you can see from this web page
We arrive at 7:30 at Château Gayard where there is a lovely restaurant on the 2nd (American 3rd) floor with views to the Pyrenees (it's a bit cloudy and hazy today, so we only see the outlines and a bit of snow-covered peaks). Did I mention that this place is in the middle of nowhere? Limoux is the nearest town and the address is actually a village called Brugairolles. The area is a plain filled with farming and vinyards. This wine area is called Corbières.
There are about 30 people here and we are seated around a U-shaped table. On either side of us are Brits who spend half their time in France and half in England. Peter, on my left, and his wife are friends of Matthew and Emma and the wife has helped prepare the curries we'll taste tonight. The menu includes 6 curries with a wine paired with each. We are told to taste the wine before each curry and then with the dish to see how the flavor changes. Surprisingly, the wines chosen go very well with each dish even if we would not favor it for just drinking.
-a Thai Green Vegetable Curry with a Pinot Grigio from Argentina,
-a Prawn and Egg Curry with a Riesling Kabinette from Mosel Germany,
-Ginger and Garlic Potatoes with an AOC La Clape (I'd never heard of this wine, but it's from a small area between Narbonne and the Mediterranean),
-a Prawn Vindaloo with an AOC Minervois (Languedoc region) Rosé,
-a Spinach and Chick Pea Dhal with an AOC Corbières,
-a Tandoori Tikka Masala with a Cabernet Franc from the Gayard vinyards, and finally
-a dessert of Carrot Halwa with an AOC Muscat from Minervois.
The meal unfolds slowly with lots of conversation, a bit of explanation about the curries and wines, and a lot of eating. We are finished at 10:30 and say our good-bys to everyone. We have been given lots of places we should be sure to see from the Brits on either side of us. We're home by midnight and fall into bed knowing that morning comes too early as we must be on the road by 6 AM to get everyone to their respective connections in Toulouse.