Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More Provencal Villages and a Winery Visit

Tuesday evening we had a late dinner at the gite, then took a walk up into the medieval center again a little before 9 p.m., shortly before it got dark. The cat that had greeted us in the dark the night before was again around, this time in the daylight, and he followed us around his “domaine” for awhile.

The next morning we got an early start to try and visit one village on the way to the 11:00 appointment I had set up with Christelle Coulange of Domaine Coulange in the Ardeche departement, on the other side of the Rhone from the Drome.  On the way we stopped at the village of Saint Restitut and took a stroll around town.

Saint Restitut

We then continued on to Bourg Saint Andeol, the town where Domaine Coulange is located.  There was a market going on in the center, and also some construction, which made it a little difficult to find our way, but we finally made it to the winery.  Domaine Couange has been in the family for several generations, but until 1996 it sent all of its grapes to the local cooperative to be vinified and bottled.  That year, Christelle and her father Maurice decided to start bottling their own wines, which have the appellations Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Rhone Villages.

Christelle greeted us, opened the tasting room, and poured their entire range of wines. We tried the white and rosé Cotes du Rhone, a red Cotes du Rhone, and 2 red Cotes du Rhone Villages, the last of which is the only oak-aged wine they make.  The white is a blend of 4 grapes, including the Viognier and Roussanne that are so prevalent in the northern Rhone; the rose and reds are Grenache/Syrah blends, except for one red that was all Syrah, All were very good, but we especially liked the reds, and bought the 3 reds we had tried. They also make another red Cotes du Rhone, called “Mistral” after the fierce wind that often blows here, which is imported into the U.S. by Ansonia Wines and which I had previously ordered from Ansonia by advance purchase. After the tasting, Christelle gave us a tour of the winery, which was having work done to expand it to add more room for ageing wine and a bottling facility.
Garden at Domaine Coulange

Domaine Coulange Vineyards

After leaving Domaine Coulange we drove to the village of La Garde-Adhemar, where we had stopped about 10 years ago.  La Garde-Adhemar is one of the designated Plus Beaux Villages de France (Most Beautiful Village of France), and it definitely deserves the designation. We spent some time wandering around the village, and took a walk through the spectacular botanical gardens.

From La Garde-Adhemar we drove back to our gite for a late lunch, continuing to try and make a dent in all the cheese we bought earlier in the week.  Our wine collection, on the other hand, continued to expand. We had a bottle of Apremont from Le Cellier du Palais in the Savoie with lunch, but having purchased 3 wines at Domaine Coulange, our cellar increased by two.

In the late afternoon we took a walk down to the Eygues River in Nyons, and walked along the adjoining path for a bit. We then headed back into the center of town, and stopped at the butcher shop we had been frequenting to see about getting a pintade for tomorrow.  They have a small rotisserie, and the butcher said if we bought the pintade they’d roast it for free.  So we ordered one to be picked up late tomorrow morning.  Thursday is market day in Nyons, and it’s possible there will be a rottiseur there, but pintades seem to be in demand, and we might not be able to get one at the market, so it made sense to order one from the butcher.
Pont Roman from the Riverbank
When we returned to our gite, we encountered our friendly cat down the street, and shortly after we got to the gite he joined us.  We had aperitifs in the courtyard, and the cat joined us, sharing the cheese with us.  He also hung around for the next course, and he seems to be waiting for dinner.


  1. Here's hoping that roasted pintade will live up to expectations. Maybe I should go get one at the market in St-Aignan on Saturday.

  2. I wish I were there with you to make a larger dent in that wine collection!