Monday, 27 September 2010

Driving through a wine list

On Saturday, we set off from Nyons to get to St Chinian for a journey that seemed at times as though instead of following a map, we were working our way down the wine list of a restaurant. Leaving Nyons we first went past the road to Vinsobres, which became a Cotes du Rhone Villages in 1967, and then, in 2006, got promoted to being a stand alone appellation. We then skirted the southern edge of the Enclave des Papes, a territory once part of the Papal States that became part of France only in 1814, close by Visan, where our wine imbibed the previous night came from, and whose label bore the papal arms. On the road to Bollene, we passed by the industrial complex of the Celliers des Dauphins, known for its massive production of Cotes du Rhones wine for supermarkets and other outlets. Crossing the Rhone we continued through the Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Rhone Villages appellations before crossing into the Department du Gard, moving into the Coteaux du Longedoc territory, first through Sommieres, then the various sub-appellations such as Gres de Montpellier, Pic St Loup (where we passed by the Domaine de l'Hortus, whose wines feature on the wine list of the Chanteclair restaurant opposite our home in Ferney), then on past the signs to Montpeyroux, which also boasts a wonderful cafe des vins called l'Horloge at the centre of the village.
Throughout the journey we would get stuck behind the narrow tractors that are used to harvest the grapes in the vineyard while the smell of pressed grapes would waft into the car as we drove past the village cooperatives. Then, as we got into the home straight towards St Chinian, we entered the Faugeres region, and drove past the signs to the Domaine Moulin de Lene, whose hat obtained on a previous visit Dr B still wears as protection from the sun, and whose wine we drank for the first evening of our stay in St Chinian. Finally, after going past the Domaine de la Liquier, we turned off the D909 to St Genies de Fontédit, and saw our first sign from a producer of AOC St Chinian ... but that will be another story ... one you're all going to get bored by by the end of this holiday!
(This post was written for the stranzblog by guestblogger Dr B)