Friday, August 5, 2011

STAMP #6: Aix en Provence, France

A-wine tasting we will go, 2010I spent the morning south east of Mont Ste-Victoire (MSV). First in Rousset, a small town that has a wine cooperative. Here the grapes of many vineyards are processed together to make the wines of the region that are not specific to a domaine. Often they are not vintage. However, they are good and cheaper and I wanted to sample several roses at the tasting room before I bought some.

I got hopelessly lost in the town as the entrance I knew was closed d/t construction. I had a wander around the town square to get my bearings and eventually found the degustation, tasting room. I sipped and spat from several bottles and chose the rose I liked best.

Instead of returning home via the main road, I took a very minor road due north towards MSV into the heart of this wine growing region. Vineyards as far as the eye can see and old buildings scattered here and there. The soil is red mixed with bits of chalk, and the vines were heavy with grapes. The roots of the vines wiggle deep into the earth to find water so the grapes fatten without rain. The sun and heat ripen them to sweetness. When just right, they are picked in late September. In the photo to the left, MSV is in the background to the north.

The drive produced many photo ops so I was stopping and starting most of the way home. As I climbed higher, the view to the south was panoramic with olive groves and vineyards spread out below me and villages dotted about. I could see for miles even though there was a heat haze today. I had to drive carefully for this paved road was no wider than a lane with death-defying hairpin bends and mad French cyclists. I had to pass them going uphill and they passed me going downhill. I've never been overtaken by bicycles before and I was travelling at about 25-30kmh! They all looked as if they'd competed in the Tour de France and went round tight corners leaning over so far I thought they'd fall over. But! I'd never have seen the views if I'd taken the autoroute (freeway).

IMAGES: (c) Julie H. Ferguson

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