After a breakfast of fresh breads and croissants with jam and yogurt we started our trip through Sancerre and the small villages in the area. We wanted to of course taste the wine from this region as well.
We let ourselves get lost in the hills, driving on the narrow streets between vines until we saw a sign for degustacion which means tasting. We pulled around the tractor and into the driveway. A Frenchman came out from the back to pour us a few tastes of both their white and red wines. We were not so impressed but enjoyed the experience.
Back in the car, we found a place our B&B had recommended, Domaine du Carrou Dominique Roger Vigneron (www.dominique-roger.fr/index.php). It was a stone house and the cellar was decorated with old wine farming tools. There were boxes of wine waiting to be shipped and a room of barrels aging wine. In the back were the large silver tanks also used for wine and a bottling machine in the middle with two men hard at work while they bottled and corked wine to be sold.
Dominique himself came in to greet us. He spoke a little English and was able to explain how he makes his wines and what made each vintage different from the next as the three of us smelled, twirled and tasted. We bought a couple of bottles, exchanged information and continued on our way.
We found the center village area of Sancerre. We walked into one of the main squares which had a few restaurants, shops and a very large château overlooking the vineyards. We parked and went to a cute place for lunch, Auberge Joseph Mellot’s (www.josephmellot.com/Index_uk.swf). The front of the restaurant was all glass windows and had about six tables before opening up into the larger portion of the restaurant. We ordered a glass of white wine since they were also a wine maker. We both had the prix fix menu-smoked salmon to start and Giff had an omelette for his main dish and I had a fillet of fish. The daughter who is now the owner came out to greet us and have us try a wine we had not ordered. The business had been her grandmother’s who handed it down to her mother who handed it down to her. She has a son who will be next and he is now the manager of the restaurant.
After lunch we walked about a block to find a small wine tasting shop that had also been referred to us by the B&B. The women inside spoke great English and quickly pulled out many bottles for tasting. She educated us on where different wines were coming from (pointing at the map) and explained to us how the different soils in the regions have such impact on the taste in this area.
After about an hour or so of our wine lesson we stopped in a bakery for some cookies and took a short walk along the back of the village to see the sweeping view of the valley. Once back in the car we drove around a bit more getting out to walk into the vineyards for fun pictures.
We got back to our place, cleaned up and then went to a restaurant called La Pomme d’Or. Thankfully, Elisabeth had made a reservation for us because the restaurant was small and quaint and turning people down whom didn’t have a reservation.
They gave us a nice big table in the back and we could hear opera music coming from the kitchen. The menu was a multiple-course meal. Giff started with smoked salmon followed by veal and I started with a fish ceviche followed by Sautéed fish and that was followed by a cheese course for both of us…I had all goat cheese and he had all cow cheese and we shared which by the way the French eat with a fork…no bread. Finally dessert…one was sorbet and fresh berries and the other an assortment of cake and ice-cream. All of this food was of course served with wine – one bottle of white and one bottle of red.
Extremely satisfied, we went home to bed.
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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