S: FRANCE with FRIENDS 2011
BC: DEPARTED | FRANCE | 30 MAY 2011
1: BORDEAUX | FRANCE | ARRIVED 19 MAY 2011 | PARIS | Tauxigny | Chateau Chenonceaux | Versailles | CHARTRES | SARLAT | Chateau d'Azay le-Rideau | LANGEAIS | La Licorne | MontLouis | Montignac | FRIENDS | WINE
6: We can't believe it!! We are finally here... Bordeaux Here We Come!
8: "Carnutes" "Autricum" "Chartrey" | CHARTRES
9: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres | .....is widely considered to be the finest Gothic cathedral in France.
12: Our first evening at Les Clos de Sources in the town of Tauxigny was perfection! Our host, Laura, served us wine, a wonderful dinner, and a relaxing breakfast the next morning. Then, we were off to continue our adventure....
14: RENE ROBERT the world famous photographer and wine connoisseur extraordinaire.
16: Our first winery visit, crawling through caves and tasting wines. Not quite the romantic notion of Bordeaux First Growth Chateaux, but charming in a cold, damp, dark, musty sort of way. The wines and our host were delightful though...and Nylsa found her Vouvray! | In search of VOUVRAY
18: Day 2 | Chenonceaux
20: Langeais | L'Ange est Reveur | Bed & Breakfast
22: Day 3 Our Breakfast was full of delicious treats prepared by our fabulous hosts...so yummy! To our delight we were so lucky when the locals were having their fresh market. Much to see, much to taste! Of course we had to shop for our picnic lunch.
24: We didn't really want to leave Langeais because it was like being in a storybook medieval tale... But we had to start our drive to Bordeaux. Along the way, we stopped to enjoy the beautiful Chateau D'Azay-Le-Rideau and a roadside picnic.
27: BORDEAUX | Our trip has been amazing so far!!! We'll be raising our glass many times in Bordeaux, which is renowned for its wines, considered amongst the best in the world.
28: Our first chateau was PONTET-CANET a 5th Growth in Pauillac known for their ideology to respect the vines and terroir. Over 24 of their 80 hectares are entirely cultivated by horse without any intervention from a tractor and no chemical weed killers. Cabernet Sauvignon 62%, Cabernet Franc 4%, Merlot 32%, Petit Verdot 2% | Day 4
29: Then, we were off to LYNCH BAGES another 5th Growth in Pauillac where we visited the vat room with equipment used in the 1850's. Heating of the vats to help with fermentation required lighting a fire in the middle of the room while cooling involved wrapping the vats with mattresses and soaking them with cold water!
30: CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD 1st Growth
31: After our third tasting of the morning at Mouton, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch and of course, enjoyed a little more wine!
32: CHATEAU LAFITE ROTHSCHILD The opportunity to visit the cellar and taste the wine of Lafite was the inspiration for this trip. Established in 1670, the vineyard became classified as one of the four 1st Growths in 1855.
34: The future United States President, Thomas Jefferson, visited this same cellar in 1787
35: PRICELESS We savored a glass of the 1995 vintage This will likely be our last glass of Lafite as the list price of the 1995 is approximately $1,000 per bottle Aging in the cellar during our visit were barrels of the 2009 vintage with an estimated value of $300 million!
36: Our last tasting of the day, Pichon-Baron. We toured the wine cellar, located beneath the reflecting pool.
37: Our first day in Bordeaux fulfilled a wine enthusiasts fantasy..... 3 vintages - Pontet Canet 3 vintages - Lynch Bage 1 vintage - Mouton 3L 1986 Chateau La Riviere and a house wine with lunch 1 vintage - Lafite 3 vintages - Pichon So, when the waiter at dinner asked if we would like some wine, we simply replied....... S'il vous plait, s'il vous plait, le vin n'est plus!! Nous avons besoin de BIERE!!!
38: Day 5 La Mission Haut-Brion vineyards established in 1540
39: At Domaine de Chevalier we were entertained by the wine maker, Remey
40: Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Hosted by owners Florence & Daniel Cathiard both former members of the French Olympic Ski Team
41: A lunch to remember.... well, I think we ate lunch....if only we could remember after all of that WINE!!
43: Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte
44: Chateau | d ' Yquem | The only Sauternes to receive the 1st Growth designation in 1855 | "You clip ze grape, one by one....." says Anne
46: 25th Anniversary | John & Nylsa
47: Ooh, | La | La
48: Chateau de La Riviere constructed in 1577 the 8 hectare wine cave stores 1,000 barrels and 900,000 bottles | Day 6
52: We enjoyed dinner at Coutet, hosted by Aline Bayly, and tasted three vintages, 1976, 1989, 1998 | This 13th century English fortress became a wine producing estate in 1643 Thomas Jefferson visited in 1787 and celebrated Coutet as the best Sauternes from Barsac In 1855, the estate was classified as a First Growth
54: On our final day in Bordeaux, we visited the 19th century CHATEAU MARGAUX a 1st Growth in Medoc The vineyards history dates back to the 12th century Our lovely tour guide, Gunvor Bizard, has led tours at the Chateau for 30 years | Day 7
55: Our final stop was at CHATEAU RAUZAN-SEGLA a 2nd Growth in Medoc Just as we started to fine tune our oenophile senses by comparing the 2010 barrel sample to the 2006 vintage it was sadly time to say au revoir to our new friends and Bordeaux............
56: We enjoyed a relaxing lunch in MONTINGNAC at Cafe du Commerce....no French meal is complete without a baguette, a beer and PASTRIES! | Dear Lord, thank you for blessing us with great friends.... plus baguettes, beer and pastries!
57: We stopped for the evening in the 13th century hamlet of VALOJOULX
58: We were hosted at La Licorne by Isabelle and her homemade walnut and peach aperitif, a gourmet dinner, and a breakfast selection of homemade French jams and pastries!
59: Our chambres for the evening were in buildings from the 13th, 17th and 18th centuries. The oldest building was once occupied by the Knights Templar who were closely tied to the Crusades. We believe we may have been visited during the evening by some of the prior occupants......... | Rene, why did the motion activated light come on in the bathroom? Why is the bathroom door closing by itself?? Kirk, why is your c-pap machine turning on by itself? John, why is your cell phone glowing like that?
60: The medieval town of SARLAT and the surrounding region are famous for truffles and foie gras (duck liver)
61: The organ was added in 1752 | Interesting, but no explanation
64: The tastes and smells of Paris in Montmartre
65: Sacre Coeur | Don't worry Kirk, we will take care of you while Terry is sick... ooh lala!!
66: The Arc de Triomphe Construction was ordered in 1806 by Napoleon Bonaparte to honor the Grande Armee, French Army. In 1805, after conquering most of Europe, Napoleon told his soldiers.... "You will return home through arcs of triumph" The names of 128 battles of the first French Republic and Napoleon's Empire are written on the white walls under the vault together with the names of the Generals who took part in them.
67: Notre Dame Tradition has it that Notre Dame's first stone was laid in 1163. Construction continued throughout the 12th and 13th centuries with the flying buttresses added in the early 14th century.
70: Farewell France... until next time.... if they will let us in!!!!