I was sitting with my husband last night enjoying a really nice glass of French wine. It was a deep and fruity red. A feeling of absolute happiness overcame me and I couldn’t help myself, I just said out loud “I love you so much. I don’t know how I would every carry on without you. Life wouldn’t be worth living”.
The OH looks at me and says “Is that you talking or the wine?”
Is he kidding?
Of course it’s me talking – TO THE WINE.
I am joking (sort of). But my point is that out here in France we really are so spoiled when it comes to wine – red, white, rosé, sparkling, champagne, dry, sweet, medium, desert, fortified – there’s probably more but I’m not an expert. Every town has a “cave” a wine shop where you can buy wine for just over a Euro a bottle or you can spend hundreds and hundreds of Euros on a single bottle – that’s definitely just for the connoiseurs, the rich and those who go in the shop too drunk to care. The people who work in these places are knowledgeable on the subject. They could win Master Mind if their specialist subject was wine.
Sometimes I wonder where it all started – wine that is. I wonder how other things started too but this is a blog about wine so I’ll keep to the subject! I can see how someone might have picked some grapes and left them in a jar and they fermented and maybe smelled pretty good. The person that left them might have been tempted to try the nice smelling fermented mess and voila – wine was born.
I’ve tried making wine myself. It was an abject disaster. More than half of the bottles exploded in the cupboard and the resulting mess seeped through the floor and into the room below. The other half was pretty much undrinkable. It tasted like something you would clean the windows with. I tried a glass anyway and woke up several hours later on the floor – I had to wear sunglasses for a week.
Anyhoo, there’s not much point in making your own wine when you live in France. I buy my wine from a man who drives up to my part of France in the Pas-de-Calais, from Bordeaux with a van load. He has his own vineyard which he runs with his brother and they make fantastic wine – I like their reds and rosés best and the OH who is a total wine heathen likes their dessert red which is very sweet. My wine man, Guillaume, will deliver to my door but he also goes to lots of foires here, fairs, or to big brocantes (the bric-a-brac markets that are beloved of the French). If he’s at a local foire I’ll go and see him there and pick my wine up so that I can do a tasting and see what he has that’s new or how last year’s vintage has turned out. He’s a very jolly man, deaf as a post and doesn’t speak a word of English but funny enough there are always loads of Brits round his stall – we are definitely a nation of wine lovers – or perhaps of free tastings.
Going to meet him at foires is also preferable to phoning my order in – he and his brother haven’t caught up with the 21st century yet and don’t take online orders. Thanks to his deafness, placing an order on the phone has ceased to be as entertaining as it was the first time when I repeated my address about a hundred times; then I got my neighbour Celine to speak to him as I thought my French might be a problem. She spoke to him, then she screamed into the phone “Huit, no pas six, HUIT…oui HUIT…. Rue de la Place, non RUE DE LA PLACE… non… non… non… PLACE” for several minutes. Afterwards she turned to me and said “he is deaf like a mole”. I didn’t know moles were deaf but anyway, going through that again is a bit off putting so I am looking forward to Le Fête de L’Entrecôte in Fruges in a few weeks time as I know he will be there and I can replenish my stock.
As they say in France “Bon Santé”