‘It’s ‘wine o’clock’ somewhere in the world right now’
Said I, justifying my ‘nosing’ the first wine at 10.00am, sipping 3rd at 10.20, chugging 5th, a lovely little Rosé ‘party wine’ so named for its instant drinkability at 10.50, before letting the palate go wild on the 7th and final, a beaut little vintage poured with deftness from a Jeroboam by our extremely knowledgeable young Sommelier.
The backdrop? A Potager (kitchen) garden ripe with fruit trees, veges and herbs behind which a well manicured garden leads to languid rows of grape vines heavy with fruit and edged with slender Cypress receding into the distant mountains. My fellow tour mates and I concur (somewhat noisily as the lovely Sarah our guide gently herds us like wayward sheepdogs back to the car) a wine tasting session at the Val Joanis winery (near Pertuis) is an absolutely splendid way to start the day touring southern Luberon & Cassis!
Next, a visit to the ‘perched’ village of Ansouis, a pretty little hamlet clinging to a rocky cliff pinnacle with spectacular views of the surrounding Luberon Mountain ranges (between the Alps and the Mediterranean). Too late for the Poppies (May), Lavender (July) or Sunflowers already drying in readiness for reaping (Sept); instead I content myself with the glorious amber colors of Plane Tree leaves clustered across the long pond in nearby Cucuron while making a note to watch the movie ‘A Good Life’, parts of which were filmed here. Sadly, said trees across Europe are being destroyed by a fungus from the inside out. Equally so the thought of how badly this pretty little place was affected by the plague epidemic spread from nearby Marseille 1720-1.
We lunch on local wine and fresh seafood hot off the wharf in the quaint fishing village of Cassis, famous for its white limestone; quarried to build nearby harbors as well as the plinth on which the Statue of Liberty (NY) sits.Next we board a boat that takes us deep into the 5 calanques: Port Miou, Port Pin, En Vau, l’Oule and Devenson; sheltered inlets created by river erosion through the limestone cliffs and affording safe and protected havens for yacht anchorage and swimming, rock climbing and abseiling.
Follow this up with a drive up the Route Des Cretes to the Cap Canaille where a magnificent view of Cassis and the Parc national des Calanques is unfortunately veiled by a natural hot air turbulence, a phenomena both eerie and majestic. I’ve just scratched the surface of what Provence has to offer.
And I’m now officially a Sarah fan. A visit to this beautiful region cannot be fully appreciated without the warmth, knowledge and deep passion displayed by her. Visiting the area soon? Head to this site…http://www.discover-Provence.net and make the most of her expertise!
Now about that wine…