We wrestled with the tram ticket machine eventually working it out and got our tickets and go it on the C tram to the Saint Jean railway station. Once there again it was a battle with a ticket machine - this time the machine defeated us so we found the ticket office and got our tickets there, good job we gave ourselves plenty of time!
|Saussignac Chateau through the Vineyards|
She was a warm, effervescent, chatty woman who was very organised. She and her husband Sean are from South Africa via Dublin, they are both have Irish Ancestry. They gave up high powered jobs about ten years ago to follow their dream of having their own vineyard in France. There were many trials and tribulations, well documented in Caro's book Grape Expectations about their early days in France. I had read the book and found knowing something about the background to this vineyard really added to the experience.
|Merlot Grapes on the Vine|
The organic and bio-dynamic vineyard was only a few kilometers from Gardonne and Saussignac and its lovely chateau was just a short distance across the vineyard. Haut Garrigue was a delightful white farmhouse with bright blue shutters, surrounded by vineyards and had a fantastic view down across the valley, the Dordogne River shimmered in the distance. There also was a beautiful newly built gite that you can stay in, a tasting room and the working areas of a winery.
|Caro Uncorking Wine in the Tasting Room|
By 12 noon we were feeling the effects of the wine a bit, after all we'd been up since 6am and only had a croissant since, so we were ready for lunch. Rather than write what we had down I've added the photo of the menu above. These items, beautifully presented, were served with unlimited delicious bread and salad and more wine. The pairing of food and wine was fascinating, anyone who knows me
At around 2pm, some of the people left and those of us who were on the Winemaker for the Day tour stayed on to make our own blend of wine. Caro, well organised as ever, gave us aprons that we could keep along with three bottles of wine to blend according to our own taste. We had fun tasting and mixing the wine, Debbi bottled, I did the labels and we both had a go with the manual corking machine to cork our individual bottles. Finally we chose copper foil caps and that was it, we'd created
Around 4pm we got ready to leave, we'd had a a wonderful day. We'd learned so much, had fun and blended our own wine. It was also a very relaxing day, nothing was rushed which was lovely, we were really able to take in the whole ambiance of the place. It had been hard for Sean and Caro in the early days, but having visited Haut Garrigue I can see why they fought to succeed, it is truly an enchanted place. A stay at the gite much be fabulous! Their wines and tours have won awards and they are well deserved. You can see the full list of their tours French Wine Adventures.
Sean drove us to the airport and we had a 20 minute wait for the train back to Bordeaux. It was incredibly quiet at the station, there is a peace about this area. The train back was busy, Some people were speaking English opposite us and I heard the man mention my home city, it's a small world!
We got home about 6pm. We didn't go out, instead we had some nibbles and the wine we had blended (we could not take the wine home as we had cabin luggage only) and of course, celebrate Debbi's official 50th birthday. We had a lovely relaxing evening and we both agreed our own wine was absolutely delicious! It was a good way to end our short, but busy trip to Bordeaux.