Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Just had a little holiday …

… after the mammoth (but still unfinished!) bottling marathon we've been running since January! So I spent a week in Dorset and Devon going to farmers’ markets and a great food festival run by the National Trust in Burton Bradstock at the Hive restaurant. If you’re in the area it serves fantastic fresh fish with no fuss.

 I also made a quick stop at the Garden House (best B&B in Exeter) to see an old rock star turn 60. He's on the drums.

I even got a beautiful Dorset sunshine walk along the Jurassic coast. Then did a Voyageur-inspired BBQ for my sister who also fondly remembers the restaurant. Duck heart skewers and bavette (beef skirt) steak, all delicious, helped along with my personal-best wine since 2002: Un Vent de Folie 2010, pure Grenache.

Anyway, the week came to an end and it was the ferry back to St Malo from Poole via Guernsey (I didn't get off, I'm a Jerseyman) and my home island of Jersey. In Jersey, I had a lovely fresh Jersey Plaice and of course REAL jersey new potatoes with REAL Jersey butter! And a very nice local La Mare dry white (I actually started work here aged 12 and finally left in 1997 for the wine harvest in South Africa!) So I got a few bottles for the harvest blind tastings … that will definitely get the Aussies and Kiwis!

A good time was had and I left with the car fridge loaded with Jersey milk (my staple diet from age 0-18yrs) and a copy of the riveting Jersey Evening Post. It’s 'branchage' season (that's the cutting back of the hedgerows of your property that encroaches onto the road) so I wonder who’s been fined this year? I once heard about someone in the west of the island being fined 50p twice!? There's also a great local language page written in Jerais.

I left on the late ferry to Saint Malo in beautiful sunshine, arriving to much the same in France (well, it’s not that far). Destination Bordeaux, good drive down through Normandy and Brittany, passing Rennes and into Muscadet country. Here it quite literally went dark and a hard drizzle began to fall which was then my company all the way to Bordeaux; nice.

I arrived at 3am and turning into the drive the vines in the headlights seem to have GROWN about 50 inches since last week! I wanted to have a closer look but, decided for bed as I had a 7am start at Le Chai. Only away a week, but so much to sort out. Actually hate leaving the vines and wines too long, no lunch (no Voyageur), emptied my suitcase re filled it and left for the Midi.

I have 3 tankers planned and eight wines to pick up, ranging from the north of Montpellier down to deepest darkest Roussillon. Hurtling towards the T-junction at Narbonne (left goes to Montpellier and right to Catalonia and Spain) with no idea which truck would get where first. I was informed 2kms before Narbonne that first truck would be in Fitou first so a very sharp auto route exit and direction Perpignan for the night, I'll phone vent de Folie grower 'JC' for a bed and a bite to eat!

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