Thursday, April 05, 2007

Saint Emilion

We left Montaigne's château after our very informative tour. I believe that Ken felt like he had made a pilgrimage of sorts. We headed south to the Bordeaux region. It was time for lunch, and we stopped along the way to pick up the fixin's.

Welcome to Saint Emilion ! Guess what we make here ?

The place we stopped was Saint Emilion, known for its wonderful red wine. You were expecting something else ? I had always heard of this appellation, but knew nothing about it. There are a little over 2,000 St.-Emilionnais, but you wouldn't expect a large population in an agricultural area.

A church in the vineyards near Saint Emilion.

The town and surrounding vineyards are on the right bank of the Dordogne. Merlot and cabernet franc are the varietals that go into Saint Emilion wine. Of course, we picked up a bottle for lunch. I remember that the town was picturesque, but, curiously, I don't have any pictures of it.

Ken waits patiently (or not - he's hungry) in the car while I snap photos.

The vineyards were also quite pretty in their fall splendor. I was amazed that in these past few days we had traversed such a variety of wine regions. They were all similar, but somehow different from each other at the same time; the geography, the differences in the grape vines, the trees, how dry the land was or wasn't, the stone used in buildings, even minor climatic differences. I was beginning to get a feel for why wines from different places tasted different. Just beginning, mind you.

Our picnic overlooking the Dordogne river. Ken opens the bottle of Saint Emilion.

We got our provisions and crossed the Dordogne. At the bridge, just on the south side, we found a spot for our picnic : a small park with benches overlooking the river. There was nobody around and we just pulled in and had our lunch on a bench. Afterward, we headed south to cross the Garonne and turned downriver toward Bordeaux.

6 comments:

  1. Going to St-Michel-de-Montaigne again was a kind of pilgrimage for me. I had been there the first time in 1973, when Eleanor was living in Bordeaux. We rented a Simca and drove out there. I had read a lot of Montaigne's essays when I was in college.

    I was glad to go back in 1989, and I hope to go again one day. Seeing Montaigne's study and his desk another time was important to me. We bought a bottle of St-Michel wine while we were there, a 1970 vintage, and we finally opened it and drank it on December 31, 1999.

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  2. Is that first picture for real or is a photoshopped one? Because any place that has a gigantic bottle of wine at the entrance might be my pilgrimage of choice.

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  3. Jayne, definitely for real. If you look further down the road, you can just see another one on the far side of the buildings. These are/were not uncommon in the wine producing areas around France.

    Claude, the wine or the place ?

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  4. I'm going to check out my wine retailer and see if I can find this Saint Emilion you speak of. I've been drinking alot of Bordeux lately. I'm taking a trip to Paris in May so I'll have to pick some up if I can't get it here. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  5. My wine guy has a bunch from St. Emilion and they range from 20 - 36 euro per bottle. Perhaps it would be a bit less if I bought it in France.

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