Day 5 French Riviera: Winery Tours in Provence

We are in France and the one thing that we want to do is drink as much wine as we can stomach, not to excess but you know what I mean, because in Thailand wine is taxed at a very high rate. With that being said for a $6 USD bottle in the States you can pay $20 USD or more for the same bottle in Bangkok and to be honest I can’t bring myself to pay that much for crappy wine (although I had a friend tell me about a wine delivery service in Bangkok with great prices so maybe I will give that a try). Our trip to France didn’t really include “wine country” but so it turns out all of France is wine country! I did some research and I found stellar reviews on Azur Wine Tours.

This company was so accommodating and I highly recommend their services. They were willing to take us on a half day tour with Killian (because we couldn’t miss nap time) at a reduced rate. We were picked up at 8:30am and were off to Provence for our first stop at Chateau du Rouet. The chateau has been around since 1840 and is in the business of making award winning wines and they were delicious. Provence is known for its rosé wines because they are light and refreshing and what you would want to drink on a hot day at the beach. I never thought I would liked rose wine until I tried theirs. We learned that most wines in Provence are a blend of grapes so you won’t see names like Chardonnay or Pinot Noir like you do in the US grocery store because in France most know the type of wine by the region. In addition there are strict rules to making wines in France and if you want to be an official wine from Provence you better follow these rules to the letter or your batch of wine is decommissioned or you could be charged with fraud and that’s a felony charge. There are people that come around and test the wines by tasting and lab testing to ensure these rules are met. The Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) is the quality control system for the wines in Provence and all over France! Here is a website with more info on that. Who knew there was so much to it! I also had no idea that cork came off the bark of a tree! During our tasting we were shown the proper way to examine, sniff, swirl and taste and after tasting six of their award winning wines we were off to the next winery.

A few miles away lies an organic winery by the name of Cru Classe Domaine du Jas D’Esclans that has also been making (award wining) wine since 1895. Our guide was so knowledgable about the winemaking process and taught us so much. I knew nothing about wine making or even wine for that matter before we started our day and by the end of the day I really felt like I had a better understanding of how it all goes down! A tour of a winery can really make you appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into your one bottle of wine and it also makes me want to drink better quality wine but obviously less since better normally means more expensive….

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