Wish you were here!
If the timing is right, we would absolutely love to bring our Live-Like-a-Local guests to Vaison la Romaine. You are probably thinking, “but, of course” –because everybody has heard of this village! –Just kidding. This is another of France’s best kept secrets!
Francis’ grandparents used to vacation here because they had a friend with a summer home in the village. BUT, I know about it because one of Francis’s dearest high-school buddies took over his grandfather’s winery which is located here.It is a great story…
When his grandfather passed away, no one in the family wanted to take on the backbreaking labor of grape growing. His grandfather had produced grapes which he sold to winemakers… Olivier had always loved it here and loved what his grandfather did. So, he not only took over the production and farm house… but, he also elevated the operation to a full scale winery. He explained to me that he wanted to plant a wider range of prestigious grape varieties and grow them organically.
Now, I’ve been wine tasting all over California, in France (and even in Texas) and this is not the same experience. This is a young man’s dream. He started on a shoe string and is building his way up… this isn’t a swanky operation with a showy tasting room for tourists. When you drive up, you are on a real farm. It’s humble. It’s honest. And the wine is delicious.
We’ve gone to visit him twice and he’s made us a barbecue both times…to show off his wines. I love the rose (made with Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault)… and his red Syrah pairs amazingly with flame broiled duck breast. His “Pique Bas” wines aren’t your usual Rhones and they are probably hard to get your hands on because it is such a small production.
If our guests come at a time when he isn’t too busy in the fields, I’d love them to experience this really authentic style of wine production and meet a producer who is humble but very proud of what he’s been able to create. To me, this is “living like a local” -visiting this kind of place that isn’t really accessible to tourists.
I also think my guests will love it because the village is charming and there are some Roman ruins to visit! What is really impressive is the deep ravine with a high bridge. (I’ll never forget it because when my youngest son was tiny, he was exhausted from all traveling and (in the only form of protest at his disposal) he threw one of his shoes over the bridge. –I somehow risked life and limb and retrieved the shoe to console (not my little son, but…) my husband who was in despair because there was no place to buy new shoes in the village (and shoes are expensive in France –or so he said). 😉
-Lisa (Sojourner Tours owner)