Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#WINELOVER’s Travel Log: South of France (February 19-26, 2012) - Part 2


This is the the second (and last) part of the travel log of my last visit to France:

02/23 9:00am – We had plans to visit Ryan O'Connell's Domaine O’ Vineyards in the afternoon, so we checked out of the villa - Residence Domaine du Golf in Fabrègues (just outside of Montpellier) - where we stayed during Vinisud and headed west to Carcassonne.

02/23 10:30am - Narbone Beach. A big part of my business is to discover places for the tourist to enjoy when he/she goes to visit a wine region. As you can see, plenty of wonderful beaches in the south of France. Always a good thing if your spouse doesn't enjoy visiting wineries as much as you do...

 02/23 1:00pm - We stopped for lunch in Narbonne, where we enjoyed a nice “canard” (duck) at the local market.

02/23 3:00pm - Visit to Domaine O’ Vineyards. We spent the rest of the afternoon with Ryan O'Connell, tasting wines, walking in the vineyard, and learning a little bit more of this great family project in the south of France.

02/23 8:00pm - Dinner at Domaine O’ Vineyards with the the O'Connell family. It was Ryan's last night at home (he is now in California working with Naked Wines), so it was very special. Great food, wines... and company!! :)

02/24 1:00pm - Lunch with Hugo Levingston (Domaine Mourchon) in Seguret. He took us to a nice restaurant in town (I'm sorry I didn't get the name) and we had time to talk about many things while we savored a delicious meal. I know it sounds like we were just eating and drinking for the past few days... but, the truth is, we were!

02/24 3:30pm - Visit Domaine Mourchon. We had heard about the amazing views from their property and we had time for a walk through their vineyards with Hugo. We took some pictures and heard what they are doing on the viticultural side of the business. The shadows on the picture are (from left to right): Andre Ribeirinho, Luiz Alberto, and Hugo Levingston (a great photographer himself).

Right after our walk, we had the opportunity to taste all of the Domaine Mourchon wines. I hope I'll have the time to post tasting notes and technical information about these wines very soon.

02/24 8:00pm - Dinner with Domaine Mourchon's owner Walter McKinlay and his wife Ronnie. Andre and I were again treated like royalty with great food and wines. We had both their 2004 and 2007 Grande Reserve wines during the main course. The '04 (my favorite) was showing a beautiful vibrancy; almost as if it was younger than the '07, but with lots of complexity and very good balance. What a lovely wine... I can't thank Walter and Ronnie enough for a truly pleasant evening.

...but, for our dessert and cheese course, I had brought a little surprise... my bottle of the wonderful Quinta do Noval Colheita 1995 to compare with the 30 year old Tawny that Walter had brought to the table from his cellar. Two delicious wines that were paired with cheeses and chocolates but, the truth is, these wines are desserts in themselves!

02/25 7:00am - Watch the bottling of the Domaine Mourchon's 2011 Rose. They don't have a big enough production to justify a bottling line, so they simply rent one "with wheels" to do the job.

02/25 9:00am - A quick drive through the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape to show Andre the amazing "gallets". Next time we have to visit some of the wineries!

02/25 1:00pm - We had a quick lunch with Louise Massaux (www.quillesdefilles.com) in Avignon. Conversations about social media and events... she was great company! Quite a nice way to finish a trip where we had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.

02/25 6:30pm - Arrived at the Barcelona airport to drop-off Andre. The skies were as wonderful just as you see here... and a great week in France came to an end... or just about... as I sill had to spend the night in a hotel by the airport to catch my flight early the following morning.

Another HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who made this trip so special!! You know who you are...

A quick disclaimer: A few times I use “we”or “us” in this article referring to Andre Ribeirinho (Adegga, AVIN) and I during something together. Otherwise, I have included the names.

List (in alphabetical order) of #WINELOVER-s (I know) that attended Vinisud. You should follow them!

Amy Lillard @lagramiere
Andre Ribeirinho @andrerib
Audrey Domenach @adomenach
Brett Jones @thewinemaestro
Domaine de Mourchon @MourchonWine
Frédéric Galtier @fredericgaltier
Gabriella Reynes Opaz @gabriellaopaz
Gilles Dumangin @dumangin
Inter Rhône @VINSRHONE
Ken Payton @KenPayton
Louise Hurren @LouiseHurren
Louise Massaux @louisemassaux
Magdalene Beverari @LeVinParfait
Marlene Angeloz @Grenache_Global
Nina Izzo @lostinwine
Olivier Legrand @O_Legrand_IR
Onne Wan GC @onnewan 
Per Karlsson @bkwineper
Ryan O'Connell @mroconnell
Vincent Pétré @vincentpetre
Ward de Muynck @warddem

I’m Luiz Alberto - @thewinehub – and I use the #WINELOVER hashtag when I tweet. 

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