Last week we had to drive to the Ardéche to buy our stone sink for the kitchen. On the way back, Robin thought it would be a good idea to take the scenic route through the Gard. We didn’t realise just how scenic the route would be, or that we would find ourselves wine tasting.
We were just on the other side of the Rhône river from Avignon and the Côtes du Rhône when we started noticing signs for the appellation and village of Tavel. The signs informed us that Tavel is the only appellation that is purely rosé in all of France. This allows for the proud proclamation that Tavel is the “first rosé of Provence” which is quite a statement in the land of rosé.
Tavel rosé is actually quite different to the more common peachy coloured rosé that is consumed as the perfect apéritif on a hot evening. Tavel rosé is much darker in colour and aromatic; it’s a “vin de forchette.” The wine compliments a meal and is meant to be consumed as would a full bodied red wine. Grenache is the most common variety of grape in this small wine region. Tavel was apparently even a favourite of Louis XIV.
As soon as we arrived into the village of Tavel we stopped at the first ‘cave’ not realising there were many to choose from. Either way, it was 10 minutes to noon and we were greeted by a hungry Frenchman (Mr. Lafond) who allowed us to taste his organic vintage. Impressed by how different the wine was, we bought 2 bottles and made our way to the car. By now, we were feeling a bit naughty despite the desperate need to get the house renovation done… We had asked Mr. Lafond for his recommendation of a nearby reasonable restaurant.
We found ourselves in quiet Saint Laurent des Arbres which also just happens to be next to another well known wine appellation called Lirac (strong red wine).
We had a delicious 3 course lunch for 17 euros each at Le Papet. What a great find!
By this point we were having too much fun and decided heck with it- life’s too short- let’s stay the night! This resulted in us driving around wildflower fields and vineyards hoping to find a b&b perfectly located within a vineyard.
While we were looking, we noticed from the road a mountain that was curiously dotted with dome topped chapels. We drove up and had a meander.
We drove around quite a bit without any luck finding that perfect B&B (we’re quite picky…) So, we figured why not stop by one more vineyard and then head home. We saw stunning Chateau Trinquevedel from the road and had to take a closer look.
We tasted their range of rosés starting with the Provencal apéritif rosé, then classic Tavel rosé and we finished with the veilles vignes or vintage vines rosé. We left with a bottle of their veilles vines. It amazingly smells quite strongly of strawberries while tasting like a côtes du rhône dry red wine. Once we finally get a fridge in the kitchen it’ll be the first thing in!
Such is the life of being an expat in France. You never know when you’ll be coerced by the stunning countryside to spend an afternoon meandering around pretending you’re on vacation. You’ll also never know when you’ll find yourself wine tasting!