That’s our dining table groaning soon after unloading the car when our 2,300 mile trip down from Grimsby to France and back up again had come to an end. We bought wines from supermarkets, co-operatives and some from a domaine’s own cave. A few less than the previous year but still enough to keep me busy for a couple of days of listing and deciding which are ready for drinking and which might benefit from a little restraint and longer cellaring. No real big-hitters but a few mildly indulgent choices to weigh against many more daft-price everyday drinkers to put the average bottle price at £6.50.
A couple of night’s stay in Lille and Auxerre were behind us and relatively wine-free before we arrived in Saint-Didier, Vaucluse. There we relaxed completely except for last minute fretting over final wine choices at the point of purchase.
In the heart of Southern Rhône and Côtes Du Ventoux appellations and domaines, our main aim was to find just a few more of the whites which we increasingly enjoy drinking. Definitely successful in that respect but failing to ignore quantities of irresistible heady, fruit-driven reds.
It’s fourteen years since we first stayed in Saint-Didier. We have returned to the village commune almost every year since then with a long or short booking forming part of our French experience. Retirement means that we are no longer escaping the rigours of work but that junction 19 turn at Bollène once again saw us grinning at each other as Mont Ventoux reared up in the distance and we began to pass road signs for ten or more iconic appellations of wines from the Côtes du Rhône.
We bought familiar names from different wine producers ‘at source’ this year and found convenient outlets to save visiting and disturbing owners right in the middle of harvest.
A stop in Fuissé on the way home meant that we had to fight off urges to add South Burgundy beauties to our car boot. Near but not total success there!
I’ll publish more with focussed posts on regions and styles for information rather than recommendation. Our choices were selfish ones based on current knowledge of what we have come to enjoy from French wines. If any of that piques your interest you can softly curse my name as you book a Channel crossing!