Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday April 9 - On Sundays you can't buy food, but you can buy wine!!!

We slept in this morning. Well, 3 of us slept in and Dave got up, showered and went to the bakery by 8 am. We woke to croissants and baguettes on the table and fresh coffee. What a guy.

We spent the morning getting acquainted with our house, finishing the unpacking and reading the history of the house (that will be a separate post). Once we were all up, Janis cooked bacon and scrambled eggs for a leisurely brunch.

Our plan was to find a Sunday market to buy veggies, fruits and cheeses - oh and Lucques olives. But since markets pack up their trucks by noon or 1 PM, we missed our window and figured we'd hit the grocery store again. WRONG!!!

In this region, grocery stores are not open on Sundays. We thought the big box grocerie stores would be open, but alas, no. Uh-oh. Internet to the rescue, we found a local bakery that is open till 8 pm. And when we get there, they have all sorts of good stuff. We bought a roasted chicken, a couple quiches, some pizza type tarts and croissants which we will freeze for tomorrow's breakfast. (Bakeries in France are open on Sundays, but closed on Mondays. This is important to know.)

Food in the frig, we decide to head out toward Vauchrétien which is the town listed as our address here in France.

Sleepy is an apt description for this cross-roads of a town with a church, a Mairie (town hall), a school, and a couple of old buildings. As we left, we finally saw a family playing boules in the park next to the church. The only folks we saw the whole time we were in Vauchrétien.

Church in Vauchrétien

Mairie in Vauchrétien
But this sleepy town helped us discover a billboard that has a wine route map. Good piece of information.

And then Janis found the golden fleece for the day. She saw a poster about "portes-ouvertes" at a winery. Porte-ouverte means open house, so we started following the signs along a well-posted but narrow lane (can't be called a road as 2 cars can't pass without one moving over to the grassy shoulder) leading out of town.

Janis and Lynn in entrance to Domaine des Giraudieres
And Voilà!!! we ended up at Domaine des Giraudières where the doors are open and a welcome sign is out. With a little help from a friendly young lady, named Marion, who spoke English (and turned out to be the owner's daughter), we were ushered into a warehouse room with round glass tabletops perched atop wine barrels.

 And small groups of people standing around them tasting wine. Marion introduced us to her brother Guillaume who, in turn, introduced us to their family wines.

Guillaume Roullet - 4th generation vintner

warehouse at Domaine des Geraudieres - Dave and Janis 
Guillaume spoke excellent English and is the 4th generation vintner in this family. He has studied winemaking and done internships in Bordeaux and Burgundy. Their vineyard has grown from 7 hectares (18 acres) to 45 hectares (112 acres) since 1927. One of the wines we tasted is produced from the single-variety grapes grown on 1.6 hectares (about 4 acres) and produced 5000 bottles of wine. (And I suspect not one of them made it to the US.) An impressive and delicious yield.

wines we tasted at Domaine des Geraudieres
We tasted (and bought) a Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, and an oaked Chenin Blanc which we didn't buy (yet). Our first red was 100% Cabernet Franc , then an 80/20 % unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc,  followed by an oaked 100 % Cab Franc which we bought. We also bought a 2015 Bonnezeaux (chenin blanc) sweet wine that they recommended we eat with appetizers like foie gras (goose liver paté). And voilà, just like that, Guillaume produced a plate of fois gras appetizers for us to taste with the wine. Then, as we told Guillaume the story of not being able to buy groceries on Sunday, Guillaume sent us to the buffet table for breads, charcuteries, and cheeses, all delicious.

As the foie gras was well-received Guillaume introduced us to a duck farmer from Brittany (La Ferme du Luguen) who was selling the most beautiful and tasty duck products from a case at one end of the warehouse room.. We bought duck breasts to make when Ben and Emily visit, some foie gras, smoked duck breast slices and a roll made of duck breast and foie gras. We paid more for duck than for the 7 bottles of wine we brought home. But we will eat (and drink) like kings for the next few days.

M Roullet (owner) with Janis and Lynn in warehouse
Good eyes, Janis. It turns out that this winery open house happens only twice each year - this year on April 8-9 was one of them. Guillaume told us that the folks who come to the open house are mostly locals. He said this area is not a well-known tourist destination nor is it a popular vacation spot for French families although that is changing.

The family Roullet were rather surprised to have Americans attend their open house and we were delighted to have found a non-touristy area that has great food, great wine, friendly people, and great sites in a country setting.

Guillaume with Janis, Lynn and Clark
Even though they were very busy with lots of groups of people to service, we felt like Guillaume provided us his undivided attention while we tasted and asked questions about the wines and about his family's wine making business. You can check out the Domaine des Giraudieres website here:

Thank you Guillaume for a most enjoyable and enlghtening visit.
Photo of Clark, Dave, Janis and Lynn taken by Guillaume

 We feel so lucky and blessed to be able to explore a part of France we didn't know.

Gotta run, Janis and Dave have got the aperos ready.....