I am really serious when I say that I am absolutely enthralled with this experience I am undertaking… in Saint Emilion…. at the Gaillard Vineyard. I could easily make it sound nice and behind the scenes it could not really be as magical…. but that is just simply not the case. This place has absolutely exceeded my expectations ~ the people, the vineyard, the art of winemaking, the village of Saint Emilion. Everyday feels like Christmas morning. I also have never laughed so hard … the guys (vineyard workers) with their attempt at the english language and the phrases they come up with… the things they say to me. It just warms my heart and brings so much happiness and laughter. The other day they kept calling me “Santa Claus Granddaughter” Pere Noel (Father Christmas) in french. I asked them why? Pourquoi? They said because I am always smiling and happy.
This speaks volumes. I am always in a good mood here and full of energy. I feel like a kid again. Yesterday, we took a rinky dinky car out in the middle of the vineyard and they taught me how to drive a stick shift. Please don’t laugh, but in the states I have always driven automatic cars and never learned a manual transmission. This was the most entertaining afternoon of them trying in their best english to guide me. Oh man! My stomach hurt after this excursion from laughing so hard.
By the end of two hours I got it! They recorded a video of me driving on the narrow roads of Saint Emilion ~ I felt I was going to crash… but all is GOOD! The french people drive so fast on these small narrow roads… thrilling to the guys not so much to me 🙂
Okay, so onto other news. Yesterday, I was sorting grapes and I look up to see none other than my professor Monsieur Franck Ramage standing on the other side of the sorter machine. Oh, HELLO.
Of course, he was impeccably dressed in his slacks, cashmere sweater and scarf, and I was in grape stained clothes and rain boots. He wanted a tour of my vineyard and to interview me for five minutes on my experience thus far. I gave him the tour and spoke about my time here… he was happy and said the wine makers had given him a great report of my work ethic! He is randomly stopping by certain vineyards of the students. Mine happened to be one of them. He then told me he would like to take me to his favorite restaurant in Saint Emilion Village that evening and I was to invite my classmates. I put this invitation together lightening speed… in the end 12 of us showed up out of 20 … not bad considering certain people are all the way in the Rhone Valley. WOW! This was a spectacular evening. He closed the restaurant down for us. L’envers du Decor. He then proceeded to order EIGHT bottles of wine. None of the bottles were less than 60 Euros per bottle.
Being drunk in the french culture is unacceptable. Being drunk means you equal less than nothing ~ Franck Ramage.
This was the opening statement after the first round of wine was poured. I completely agree that your level of intellect or sophistication goes right out the window once you are intoxicated… but I could not help but giggle when he stated this…. It was so deliberate and blunt. Everyone sat up a little straighter at that moment. It was just an awkward truth and I am in agreement but “less than nothing” is a little harsh and intense. 🙂
This just goes back to the relationship with wine that the french have. It really truly is meant to compliment a meal. It is not meant as an intoxicant whatsoever. Once you feel the affects of alcohol, you are no longer aware of the nuances and essence of the wine as far as flavor profile, aroma, pairing. So forget it. I believe in a time and place for everything ~ having a party and letting loose is lovely sometimes… but not the place when you are dropping decent money to pay for the pleasure and education of a food and wine pairing!
A long wine and food pairing like this really is meant for awareness, and for you to extract as much flavor and pleasure from the food and wine as possible. We had five courses… over five hours. It was a long night of intellectual food and wine talk…. this is my life and I LOVE it. I have never felt more comfortable in a conversation….. I feel I have so much to offer. This is truly what I am passionate about and I get to converse with others with the same level of passion.
Oh my goodness… this was the best night of exchanging stories from our perspective vineyards. We are all living this magical dream out in Bordeaux, staying in Chateaus, making wine…. How lucky are we?! Great times in life!!
Monsieur Ramage is the one with the spotlight in the back 🙂 (Photo quality was hard ~ this restaurant was very low lighting) I cannot believe it is the weekend already. Have a great one! I have some fun plans cannot wait to share…XO