Day 8 of our trip was our first full day in Vaison de Romaine, which is in Provence, in the Cote du Rhone wine region. Although we had sampled a bit the day before and participated in a wine tour, I was just getting started.
I wanted a full day committed to wineries and our first day in Provence was the day to do it.
In Italy, we arranged a wine tour of the Tuscany region on the fly, but after emailing two tour guides that morning with no response within a few hours, Brad and I decided to take things into our own hands. We would go on our own self-guided tour of the Cote du Rhone wine region.
I mean, how hard can it be, right?
Our first step was preparing for lunch, so we grabbed some groceries at the local market, picked two wineries out of our guide that Rick Steve’s recommended and were on our way.
Please believe me when I say that these photos do not do the countryside justice. It’s absolutely beautiful.
On our way to the first winery on our list, we stopped at a very small winery, just to pop in and see if they would let us do a tasting.
Translation lesson when wine tasting in France: Ouvert means “open” and caveau means “cave” and when you’re in wine country, it means “wine cave”.
We were the only ones there.
The sign on the door said to ring the bell for a tasting, so I did exactly that.
The woman who greeted us after I rang the bell a few more times, did not speak any English but I was able to get across the point that we wanted to taste wines.
This was my favorite, but we decided to purchase a dry rose instead to enjoy with our lunch.
The wine caveau had several beautiful watercolors of the area on several of the walls.
The artist is Louis Faye and she has a website.
After being a bit rushed in our tasting, we made our selection and was on our way.
We stopped for photos whenever we saw some beautiful landscaping that we could not miss.
Just down the road, we saw another sign for a caveau, so we took a bit of a detour, only to find that the tasting was at someone’s home and they were not there, or at least they didn’t answer their door.
But they had some beautiful lavender that was full of life and begged to have its picture taken.
Check out this little escargot.
It turns out that butterflies like lavender as much as I do. There were at least four of them fluttering about in this bush.
We finally found a perfect spot for our picnic which had a cement table…
…and this lovely view.
We unpacked our supplies and got down to business. Lunch was a baguette, honey, goat cheese, ham, walnuts, plums, and a strawberry muffin to split.
The baker called our muffin a cupcake, but in my book, if it doesn’t have icing, it’s a muffin.
After lunch, we got a little lost, but at least we had these beautiful views to keep up us company.
Google Maps actually steered us to the middle of someone’s vineyard on a one lane dirt road. It was a 20 minute detour that we had fun laughing about. There are some side streets in Charlotte that Google Maps can’t even identify, yet it knows the dirt vineyard paths in the French countryside?
Finally, we found our first planned wine tasting at Domaine de Coyeaux.
The setting was gorgeous.
The young lady who helped us with our tasting was very nice and spoke English very well.
Most of the wines she served were surprisingly sweet. Not my cup of tea, but it was fun to taste anyway.
Soon thereafter — like literally just down the road — we found our second wine tasting.
I found it quite funny that some of the other wine tasters had brought children along on their trip and was allowing them to run around outside the caveau by themselves.
I didn’t feel comfortable taking photos in this particular winery and they weren’t overly friendly. So I did my tasting, with little communication between us and the staff at the vineyard, we bought a couple of bottles and headed on our way.
We stopped at two more wineries before calling it a day and ended up with a total of nine bottles of wine — some for drinking and some for gifting.
For dinner that evening, we broke into one of our bottles of wine and I made a light, but delicious salad.
Our salads were a bed of greens with vine tomatoes, cheese, ham, red onions, and dressed in a balsamic reduction.
I actually purchased the balsamic reduction in a little plastic container instead of making it myself.
The day was wonderful and leisurely and to balance out all the wine we drank, we decided to plan a more active day for our last full day in Provence.