Day 131 of 400: Saint Emilion – France
Our intentions were not to wine taste…we really were going to exercise today. We even started our brisk walk through the farm roads of Saint Emilion…the road we turned down had a building in the middle of the vineyards with a big sign showing wine and listing degustation (wine tasting). We only went in to see what the hours were so we could come back after our workout, but it started pouring rain while we were inside. We had two options at this point…1) Stay indoors, wine taste and learn about wine or 2) Go out into the pouring rain and get drenched…obviously we went for the first option. We were actually very happy we found this place because we had been looking for the wine we ordered with dinner the first night we were in town. Right in front of us was an entire section full of that label, Aurelius with various vintages. We found out…it actually is a cooperative wine but a special one….usually cooperative wine use grapes from all different farmers to make the wine. With this particular label…they actually farm the grapes themselves on each of these farmers properties and then take the grapes and make the wine.
After a few tastes, it had stopped raining but it was too late…we had gone to the dark side…wine was now on our taste buds and the “brisk walk” went right out the window…maybe tomorrow.
We walked into the town center and stopped at a Creperie. We ordered a ham and cheese crepe and for dessert a Cassis jam crepe…neither were much to write about so I won’t.
It was close to 2Pm which was when our English tour of the underground cathedral was but we had enough time for yes…you guessed it…a taste of wine from another wine shop. There are over 2000 vineyards in Bordeaux so there is a lot of tasting to do you know. Giff also managed to taste a 1978 Armagnac and a fine cognac. When it comes to Brandy…we prefer Armagnac over Cognac. Last month when we visited Scotland, we preferred single malt whisky over blended. In the case of both…it just comes down to personal preference.
After our tastings, we went over to the cathedral and bought our tickets for the tour. This cathedral is the world’s largest monolithic (one rock) cathedral. The tour took us through the cave of a hermit named Emilion who lived down there in the 8th century. They talked about a specific seat in this small cave where the hermit would do his praying and meditating…they said now it is known as the fertility stone. As the myth goes…if a women wants to get pregnant, she sits on the stone and will be pregnant within the next 30 days. Tempting as it was, the next 30 days would be too soon for Giff and I so I didn’t sit on it. The tour also walked us through the massive cathedral showing us the paintings, catacombs and carvings on the wall.
The tour lasted about an hour and once we were out, we walked through town a bit. We went into a wine shop that was busy yesterday and were greeted by an extremely nice Australian guy who took a lot of time to pull out various wines for us, teaching us what we were tasting and showing us how different regions in Bordeaux create different wines. After several tastings and discussions, we bought three bottles of wine from him. With our 3 bottles in hand, stopped at two more specific wine shops to pick up two more bottles of wine we had tasted previously since this was our last night in Saint Emilion.
Once we were back at our place, we again had a picnic dinner amongst the vines and had a relaxing evening. We decided Saint Emilion is one of our favorite wine regions in France.