Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Forward Into The Past......

This was our very nice apero at Chez Paret in Montagne, France on Saturday evening. The Paret family invited the entire equipe working on the vendange at Chateau Vieux Chevrol. The two Paret sisters, Celine and Isabel, are in the picture. They served us a Muscat sec, which I had never tasted before and opened a few bottles of the local white and rose cremeaux....sparkling wines made right there in Montagne with the champagne technique. In case you are wondering where in France we are, Montagne is not so far from Libourne. We are in the Lalande-de- Pomerol region and this was the 10th year I worked for Chateau Vieux Chevrol as a porteur. It only rained a bit and the temperature was pretty nice for the hard work. As a porteur, I often carry my own weight in grapes on my back and we have determined with the aid of GPS device that porteurs walk on the average of 24 kilometers a day. The vendange lasted 12 days with a one day break when we all went on a nice excursion arranged by Jean-Pierre Champseix to Barzac, which is the center of the Sauterne region and enjoyed a very nice sampling of Sauternes, then off to lunch in a very beautiful town, Bazas which has a 13th century cathedral and was the seat of power for the first of the Avignon French popes, Clement V. After a great lunch of the famous Bazacois beef, we visited the Chateaufort Roquetaillade, which was built by Pope Clement VI for one of his sons...yes, he had a few sons and they became cardinals. Amazingly, Roquetaillade has remained in the hands of the same family since the 1300's. During the time of Louis Napoleon, in the 1860's it was "restored' by the French architect/historian, Viollet-Le-Duc who has been accused of cultural vandalism in many of his restorations of the period...but Le-Duc was reimagining the middle ages through his sense of Art Nouveau esthetics. He created something fantastic. The privately owned chateau does not allow pictures to be taken of the interior. The family still resides there but it is open to guided tours. 
During the time I was working, I was usually too tired to try to listen to the radio at night. I listened to French news, and sometimes when the reception was good enough, BBC4 Longwave. Very few of my coworkers speak any english at all, so I essentially speak and think French and the occasional Dutch phrase, but I do not speak Dutch. What news I did get from America was pretty depressing. Sometimes I think The USA is willfully suffocating itself by putting a plastic bag of willful ignorance over its head and breathing the fumes of its own stupidity. I try to remain positive, but lately America has never failed to disappoint me. I got back home, here to La Sechere to find absentee ballot waiting for me, which I filled out and mailed this morning! J'ai Votez! That made me feel fairly positive....then I saw this:


Ol'Buzzard said...

I envy your wine tasting. French wine is wonderful. I spent some time in Portugal and their wine is seriously underrated.

I too am appalled at the seemingly idiotic direction of America. The country is only as viable as its citizens and half of this country appears to be dirt ignorant. There are people ready to vote and through blind support for policies contrary to their own best interest - and they can't tell you why. They incredible believe the most outrageous claims - defying logic and common sense.
I believe the religious fanaticism is the base cause, as religion and and enlightenment (education, science, logic...) have never been on the same page.

Great post
the Ol'Buzzard

Ol'Buzzard said...

Just typed and posted the previous comment. Should have read it over for context - but the basic sentiment is there.
The Ol'Buzzard