Sat 27 March 2010
Having stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel right in Manchester Airport we then fly to Southampton which is a small and pleasant airfield with a lovely viewing lounge, and from there to Avignon – also small and pleasant, where Finn Skovgaard is waiting with his taxi. The Gite is high up, nestling in the dense forest below the Dentelles, mid-way between the small settlements of Gigondas, Vaqueyras, and Beaumes de Venise and surrounded by the vineyards of the Domaine de Longue Toque.
Patrice is there in his garden to greet us. Our new living place is a small but spacious–seeming barn with a wood stove, nicely renovated with a sleeping platform above and under-floor heating. We make our bedroom in the cosy attic mezzanine at the top of the wooden ladders. Patrice kindly takes us shopping to buy our groceries in Vacqueras, where all is shut and so on to Beaumes de Venise supermarket, and then to the Domaine de Fenouillet to buy wine. It is a rare treat to go into this domaine with a local and hear them chatting and talking about the wines. You can tell by the lavish peppering of casually dropped great wine names, (Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes de Venise, with Sablet and Seguret close by), that we are in a rich and historic area of vignoblesse. This is one of the many attractions of the area we have chosen.
We walk out from our isolated gite, up the track into the forest and towards the beautiful limestone ridge of the Dentelles. Dentelles means lace, and we are able to admire the frail looking fancy fretwork of the distant cliffs against the pure evening sky as we walk up. We go as far as the Col d’Alsau and return in the dusk collecting wood for the fire as we walk.