Wednesday, 4 March 2015

and enjoys the fruit of the vine

Bergerac. Not the 1980s Jersey based crime drama featuring Jim B. tootling about in his wine coloured Triumph roadster solving crimes committed by his father in law; the wine producing region of the Dordogne, south-east and inland of the better known Bordeaux. Possibly most associated with this chap, son of Abel de Cyrano, Lord of Bergerac in the 17th Century, full name Hercule-Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac. He seems to have lived an exciting life,  fighting in battles and duels and was also a writer,  though he's probably more famous for his fictionalised self in the works of Edmond Rostand.

Apparently he did have a big nose

Bergerac's old town

Once upon a time Bergerac produced two of the most popular human vices, tobacco and wine. The  tobacco industry remains only in the Musee du Tabac but wine still grows in the fields.  A generic "Bergerac" red wine used to be sold here in Britain, though the region has 13 Appellations d'origine controlees, but I hadn't seen even that for years and then on our drive south we stopped of for a coffee at Weston Park spotted this on sale.


We stayed at the lovely Chateau les Merles which was surrounded by its own vineyards,  so it would have been churlish not to have raised a glass or two.....

the chateau

 wine to be

One of the better known wines of the region is Monbazillac. Now this is a sweet wine and so presented me with a bit of a dilemma. I've given up puddings and chocolates, I do this every year during Lent (and often manage to end up in France surrounded by patisserie), so was I allowed any? I decided the answer was "yes", it was ok if I drank it as an aperitif so removing any pudding connotations, then I managed to convince MrS to start his meal the same way. A good outcome all round I thought.

 Chateau de Montbazillac is open to visitors and Dogstarke was allowed in, but I had to carry her. I didn't mind that at all, she's not that heavy and she's warm which the chateau even on a brilliantly sunny day most definitely was not; I could even see the appeal of long skirts and petticoats. Afterwards we warmed up with a scrumptious (wine free, we were driving) lunch at La Tour des Vents, just down the road Dogstarke  was welcomed there too. 

Chateau de Montbazillac

After a hard days sightseeing and wine buying what could be nicer than a good soak in the bath? Well how about a bath in wine? Not really, that would be a waste but being a great believer in the health giving properties of red wine, I'd stocked up on some grape based toiletries and this scrub was excellent.  

The problem is now I'm hankering after a visit to the actual Caudalie spa near Bordeaux. I'd like to visit Bordeaux too. and then there's the wine....MrS would be keen and I'm  sure GlamourPuss and The Prof. could be persuaded to join us again.  All the best ingredients, good company, good food and wine, sightseeing, a spa.
 And a chauffeur perhaps?  

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