Long, Lovely, Lunch with Philippe Plantevin
After a quick visit to Burgundy and then a family week in the South of France, we planned to spend Saturday driving from our rental house in Minervois all the way North and East to Strasbourg. When he was in DC last May, Rhone winemaker Philippe Plantevin heard about our summer trip and invited - insisted, actually! - that we stop at his house near Cairanne for lunch. Since the drive to Strasbourg was long, we thought a "quick stop" at La Daurelle would make for a nice break in the drive...
Why I thought the words "quick", "winemaker" and "Saturday lunch in France" could possibly coexist in the same sentence is beyond me. We arrived at 10:30 in the morning...and got back on the road at 3:30 pm! But, the visit with Philippe and his family (not to mention the lunch) was well worth the time taken.
Philippe was kind enough to give our family a quick tour of his winery and then a longer trip through his Cairanne and Cotes du Rhone Villages vineyards. As in Burgundy and Alsace (where I'm writing from today), Philippe told us the 2011 vintage got an early start and should see an early harvest - possibly starting August 30, the same as in 2003. But, unlike Burgundy and Alsace where cool, wet, July weather is making things stressful, Philippe's vineyards have had just enough refreshing summer rain to advance ripening but not so much moisture that rot is a concern. Certainly the grapes we sampled were very promising already, especially the Viognier for his CdR Blanc and Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre for the La Daurelle!
You can read more about Philippe and two of the best wines we drank with lunch in our email today (Tuesday). And, below are a few pictures from our visit. I'm pretty sure I have Philippe convinced to come visit us again next Spring, too!