Thursday, 6 March 2008

Flowers and wine

Did you know the mimosa or wattle was originally from Australia and was imported on the Riviera by the British? Bright blue skies and strong wind today (the mistral is blowing), I'm taking you on an excursion to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Just 16 kms north of Avignon, this beautiful village produces the region's most famous wine, a strong, full-bodied red. Rich and spicy with aromas of vanilla, red fruit and cinnamon it is best associated with red meat (roast beef, steak), game and strong cheese such as roquefort. The Chateauneuf-du-Pape (production 13.5 million bottles a year) is an elaborate blend of thirteen different grape varieties including Grenache, Syrah and Clairette (but also Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Muscardin, Cournoise, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan and Vaccarese, for those who are interested). Only the vineyards located within the boundaries of the village can claim the name. Most are still family-owned and operated. Throughout the village and in the countryside you'll find shops where you can do some serious wine-tasting before you purchase anything. Sounds like fun?

Saviez-vous que le mimosa est originaire d'Australie et qu'il a été importé sur la Côte d'Azur par les anglais ? Aujourd'hui ciel bleu, jour de mistral, je vous emmène en excursion à Chateauneuf-du-Pape, un village situé à 16 km d'Avignon et célèbre pour... son vin, bien sûr, un rouge riche et généreux aux arômes de vanille, de fruits rouges et d'épices qui se marie particulièrement bien avec les viandes rouges, le coq au vin, le gibier et les fromages forts tels que le roquefort ou le maroilles. Le Chateauneuf du Pape (13,5 millions de bouteilles par an) est un savant mariage de 13 cépages différents : Grenache, Syrah, Clairette Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Muscardin, Cournoise, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan and Vaccarese, pour ceux que ça intéresse. Pour mériter l'AOC il faut bien sûr que l'exploitation soit située sur les terres du village. Partout dans le village et dans les vignobles environnants, des points de vente vous invitent à venir déguster le vin, et à en acheter bien sûr. Ca vous tente ?
avignon en photos
On this photo (click to enlarge) you can see Roman tiled roofs, traditional village houses, stone walls, ochre coloured facades, crumbling remains of an ancient rampart, olive trees, cypresses, pine trees, and a small vineyard - pretty much a concentrate of Provence in one shot!
BTW, the name Chateauneuf-du-Pape litterally means 'Pope's Newcastle' : a few centuries ago the Popes had their summer residence there. But the castle is no longer 'new' - today only ruins remain.

Sur cette photo (cliquez pour l'agrandir) on voit des toits de tuiles romanes, des maisons de village en pierre, des murs couleurs d'ocre, un bout de rempart en ruine, des oliviers, des cyprès, des pins parasol et un petit champ de vigne -un vrai concentré de Provence ! Pour l'histoire, Chateauneuf du Pape tire son nom de ce qu'il y a quelques siècles, les Papes y avaient établi leur résidence d'été. Mais il y a belle lurette que le château qui domine le village n'est plus "neuf ": aujourd'hui il n'en reste que des ruines.


Anonymous said...

Those yellow blossoms are just beautiful. I don't know which buildings have the Roman tiled roofs but I did notice one backyard appears to have a lot of grape vines in it. I guess they make wine there.

Nice photography.

Anonymous said...

Qu'elles sont belles ces photos, et c'est vrai que je les attendais ces photos de mimosa ( en provenance d'Australie à l'origine, incroyable!!!).
Ce sont de vraies boules de soleil et avec le vent qui souffle, il faut bien ça pour se consoler!

isa said...

Lol, Nathalie - that typo in the English version (only 13,5 bottles produced annually) would certainly explain why Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine is so expensive ;-)

And the last photo begs a question: how much wine can that miniscule vineyard produce?

Marie-Noyale said...

Ces petits pompons jaunes sur fond de ciel bleu...Quel bonheur !!
Dans une peite photo tu as reussi a nous montrer presque toute la vegetation locale..que c'est beau..

J'espere que le Mistral ne va pas trop souffler ces fleurs d'origine Australienne!! sont si fragiles..
Je suis de la promenade avec toi le Chateauneuf du Pape est un de mes vins favoris..

edwin s said...

Such gorgeous sights. I wish I was there with you. then we'd go try the wines. I'm not much of a wine expert but I'll tip myself over for a good Merlot.

Anonymous said...

Abraham, the best way to recognise those Roman tiles is to look closely at the roof in the bottom left corner. They have an unmistakable semi-tubular shape.

Isabella, thanks ! Those following you will read "13.5 MILLION bottles", I just corrected the text!

I have no idea how many bottles this tiny vineyard would produce. A very confidential number I presume.

Olivier said...

on nous aguiche avec du Chateauneuf-du-Pape ;o) je suis preneur, c'est bon (surtout avec du fromage) . j'aime bien la photo vu des toits, tout est en couleur.

edwin s said...

Oh Nathalie, some colourful scarves and a couple of bottles, we'll be ready to conquer the countryside :)

As per your comment on KLDP, who knows what a good Muslim woman should look like? To each her own, oui? Who am I to pass judgment? I haven't been a good Muslim man lately.

Anonymous said...

du mimosa, cela fait plaisir, et le parfum d ici.... de l orient , si si!!! rate bcp de fotos, je ne suis pas reguliere.. bien vu le baiser en diect, et entre deux bouffees cigarette... :-))

 gmirage said...

wow! What lovely blue and yellow combination! Good day!

Squirrel said...

the photos are so HAPPY! and you make the wine sound fabulous.

freefalling said...

Love wattle - and it looks fabulous against the beautiful blue sky.
Does it give you hayfever?
Did you know some consider it bad luck to use as a cut flower inside?

Sally said...

One of my fave plants; my house is named Mimosa, well pre-dating me (it was built about 1909)

We could perhaps say Snap!

Used to love drinking Chateuneuf du pape when living in England. Probably because it is full bodied. A bit like Hunter Valley reds??

Sally said...

Oops - link doesnt work:

claude said...

Nathalie, ta photo de mimosa est super belle !
J'aime bien le petit vignoble perso entre les maison et le vieux mur en pierres aussi. C'est intéressant de connaître l'origine du nom des villes et villages.

whyioughtta said...

Oh, that mimosa against the blue sky is stunning. What a beautiful shot.

Sigh...we're buried under more than 1.5 metres of snow here and supposed to get 50cm more this weekend! I'm so thankful to the blog gods that I learned of your blog!

Dreaming of the mistral...

Kate said...

The blossoms are vivid and outstanding against the clear blue sky. Lovely, lovely, lovely!!!

Ming the Merciless said...

I love the mimosa blooms and the view of the red roof court yard.

Awesome photos.

Anonymous said...

Mmmhh... Flowers and wine... Deux mots que j'aime tant! :)

Anonymous said...

These are beautiful...what a joy for the season!

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