I am now in Toulouse, getting closer to the Spanish border, which I plan cross sometime this weekend.
I left Bordeaux early(ish) morning yesterday and took advantage to visit Monbazillac. Most of you have probably heard about the famous Sauternes sweet wines within Bordeaux. All honey and very appreciated, but there is a place not far, that produces gorgeous sweet wines called Monbazillac.
So I headed down, determined to learn something about these wines.
I was very lucky to meet a very collaborative agent at the tourism office, who gave me to taste two wines before 10 o'clock and recommended a foie gras shop across the street to accompany my Monbazillac wine, hey, what can I say? I do have a heart and the thought of a lonely wine without its foie gras seemed just not right.
He also reccommended three châteaux where I could get a bit of a explanation on the vinification of this wine, all on my way to Bergerac. Does it ring a bell? It did to me, but I did not know which one.
The first visit was off the counter, and I got a good explanation of the noble rot (botrytis affected grapes), the hand harvesting and selection of the grains, the amount of residual sugar allowed in the Monbazillac wines, from 50 to 200 grams per litre and the alcohol, between 13 and15,5% Did a bit of tasting and also got interested in their other wines Bergerac AC (Monbazillac AC is only for the sweet ones produces under the strict specifications). I discovered a new (to me) grape variety, the Sauvignon Gris and I got to try a dry white made of this grape, and a sparkling one.
My next stop was even more didactic. Chateau la Brie is part of the Lycée Agricole de la Brie, so being an active part of the wine formation of the region, I got a really detailed explanation of the whole process. Happy with my new acquired knowledge, my next stop was to take place only 6kilometres away, in Bergerac. Pretty old city and... It was not until I saw the statue of the renowned Cyrano (of Bergerac), that the penny dropped... Dahhh! Ha ha ha...
Drive and several stops took me to a beautiful Medieval city, labeled as one of the prettiest I France (at least that is what the sign said), so of course I had to stop. Monpazier that is and it was indeed something quite special. Picture for your eyes, below.
Running late... and so many things to see, so directly to Cahors without concession. I must say the driving is resulting as pleasant as the rest, the scenery of the landscape is so beautiful, that just doing that is a present to the senses.
In Cahors I must make a special mention to its cathedral, different to the ones I have seen so far, and in a more cozy way, unique. Another pic, not fantastic, but just so you have an idea of what I am talking about.
Time to rush to Toulouse, where I am expected for dinner. I arrived around 19:30 and Paul had prepared a delicious Cassoulet of cannellini beans, duck and Toulouse sausage, accompanied by a Saint Emilion red Bordeaux. Followed by my favourite digestive: Armagnac. Great food, in the best of companies. Thx, Paul.
Today, I had a very ambitious plan, and ended doing only half of it, I must go to Carcassone and Mirepoix before leaving, but I did go to: Revel, Saint-Ferreol (lake), drove across the 'Montagne Noir' from Mazamet to Beziers, down to Narbonne and then had to give up on Carcassone and Mirepoix because of the time and the rain. However; what I did do, was to go in a wine chateau and try about 10 wines from the Minervois and Corbieres regions. Interesting grapes and blends, and some, very good as well. I will pass on the recommended one, but the notes are in the car.
Time to go to bed and get a good night rest before visiting Albi and... to be confirmed.
Salud y buenas noches!