Monday, October 29, 2012

France Day Eight - Wine - Part Two

After our second stop, we loaded up and continued our wine tour.  In contrast to Domaine Gayda, the third stop was at a small sixth-generation winery, Chateau Guilhem, founded in 1878.  Bertrand Gourdou, the proprietor, gave us a tour of the winery and told us about its history.  Located in the heart of Malvies, and overlooking the Pyrenees, it was built at the end of the 18th century.  The property was owned by his mother's side of the family.  Bertrand, the only son, had moved to Paris, where he worked as a wine exporter.  His mother called to tell him she had decided to sell the winery, and that she had a buyer.  Apparently, all thoughts of Paris abruptly left him, and he left the next day for home.  He walked in as the notarie (attorney) was presenting the closing documents for signature.  His surprised mother said, "Bertrand, what are you doing here?" and Bertrand replied that he had returned to run the business, thus keeping it in the family.  The wine is not sold in the United States.  Bertrand told us he's already sold everything from this season, and life is good.  His wife is expecting their first child in December, so there is an excellent chance the Chateau will remain in the family...

 Bertrand has the original journals of his great-grandfather, detailing each day's work.


 After tasting some of this excellent wine, Jean-luc loaded us into the van once again, and we continued meandering down more country roads.

Our last stop was a visit to a local micro-winery, Domaine Villarzens, where we were welcomed by owner Thierry Gravelle, and his wife Eve. After a tour of the vineyards and the property, we sat down at their table and enjoyed a spectacular tasting, as well as wonderful appetizers prepared by Eve.

Here's Herman, the Domaine dog!


All in all, it was a fitting end to a spectacular day.  It was dark as we returned to Maison Juliette, and it was a nice change to have someone else do the driving! Jean-luc is also a talented musician, and we listed to some of his music on the drive home. Thanks to him, we met so many wonderful people, and we learned a lot about the local wines.  The day was one of the high points of our trip to southwestern France.  If you ever have the opportunity to travel there, let me know, and I will send you the contact information for this amazing tour. 


1 comment:

  1. beautiful, wonderful photos! I absolutely love the photo of the hands with leaves (or whatever that is)!