Monday, July 14, 2014

Beaumes de Venise, Gigondas, & Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Thursday 3 July
OMG I know you're just so jealous from the title. Eeeeeee another WINE TOUR TODAY! Mom talked me into splurging. I blame her for my poor financial decisions regarding wine that I made later in the day. 

I arrive at the tourism office at 8:45 for my 9am start. Bentoît, my driver, picks me up and tells me, as we're walking to the car, that it's just 3 of us. The other couple is Russian and she speaks fluent French but both speak zero English. Well, this isn't going to be awkward at all. I do enjoy the front seat and talking to Bentoît. He's very knowledgable about the area. 

Our first stop, at 10am, is Beaumes de Venise for a little tasting. Starting the day out right. 

Well obviously I bought some but I was smart and I got the little bottle. 

Next is a little tour of the city. 

Where people used to live, in dugouts in the hills of the mountains. 

As we walked through the city, Bentoît kept telling us of pretty spots to take pictures lol He was looking out for our touristic needs. 

In lieu of an awning they had grapevines! Win-win or even *ahem* wine-wine? Hah.

We even did an olive oil tasting! Provence is known for it's olive oil, and I'm told it's better than the Italian stuff because there are no factories allowed in all of provence. Which makes their produce much better than everywhere else - quote from Bentoît. 

       Wine tasting total: 3

Back into the car and heavenly air conditioning on the way to Gigondas which is apparently the cutest and most typical Provençal town. It was. 

Time to taste!

So much witchery

I asked Bentoît to take my picture. He didn't really know how to use and iPhone but he was more than happy to be my photographer for the rest of the day lol

      Wine tasting total: 7

We head to Châteauneuf next for some sights then lunch. Then more tasting. 

The Nazis blew up the Popes summer palace when they fled, but I can imagine it was pretty impressive. 

From here Bentoît brought us to our lunch spot, then left. Gah! He was my buffer! Now it's me and the Russian couple and we're unable to communicate. Well, we tried and with my abysmal French we managed to determine I was backpacking alone for 2 months and they were from Moscow. Also I think she was a teacher and he was in the military. That's all I got. 

Lunch was delicious though and the restaurant had an amazing view. 

Fig tarte for dessert. Om nom

      Wine tasting total: 11

Bentoît picks us up at 2pm and we head to a tasting cave right down the road. I say cave because it's in caves that Romans dug for winemaking 2000 years ago. It was soo cool. 

You can rent the boxes behind me to store your wine at the perfect temperature. 

Note my crooked picture taking already. I didn't hydrate enough for the 90 degree heat. 

         Wine tasting total: 15

.. And for some more

      Wine tasting total: 17

On to Chateau de Beaucastel

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt make this wine. She thought the bottle was pretty. 

      Wine tasting total: 20

And again. These three places were all within 500 feet of each other. 

This is my "maybe I shouldn't have been actually drinking all of these tastes" face. 

      Wine tasting total: 24

Our last stop is a favorite stop that Bentoît only takes to the best groups who behave themselves lol

Eau de Vie from Châteauneuf rarely gets exported to the US. Boo. It was delicious and totally necessary. 

       Wine tasting total: 28

By now, I'm simply exhausted. It's 5pm and I've spent the entire day drinking. It's tough work people. 

Back in Avignon I realize how tricky Bentoît is. Every time we bought wine, he would carry it for us, so I kinda forgot what I actually purchased. He drops us off and my bags are SOO heavy. I trudge to the hostel and all I can think is "I have to pack these in my backpack tomorrow". I have a plan for most of it, so I won't have to carry them for the whole 4 weeks but still. UG. I finally make it back, shower - saw a gigantic spider while in the shower.. I don't wanna talk about it - then went to bed.

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