Provence: Vineyard Picnic by the Sea

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Sandy%20beach.JPG Potatoes%20at%20vyd%20picnic.JPG Picnic%20lunch.JPG

Seriously? Vineyards that grow in sand along the Mediterranean? A stone's throw from the glitterati beaches of St. Tropez? Seriously. It's a protected shoreline, too, ecologically sensitive, between two headlands, Cap Lardier and Cap Taillat. But just inland is Domaine la Tourraque, owned by the Brun family, a vast wooded estate that includes 100 acres of vineyards planted with rolle, ugni blanc and semillon (for white Côtes de Provence), carignan, cinsault, mourvedre and cabernet sauvignon (the authorized red varieties). You can't reach the vines by road, you need a rugged four-wheel-drive to navigate the rutted paths.

You bounce past along past hard clay and schist on the higher elevations, then emerge from the forest to find yourself on a sandy beach. Vines share space here with the ubiquitous parasol pines of Provence; only a fragile dune protects them from being burned by the Mediterranean's salt-laden mist.

The vehicles shuttle our international delegation down to a grove where the family has set out the makings of lunch. Much amazement over the purple potatoes, but there's more: fresh crunchy vegetables from the markets of Provence (you never get enough fresh veggies on these trips), served with a hearty garlic mayonnaise and plenty of 2007 La Tourraque white. There's grilled salmon to follow, with creamed spinach, then a custard-filled cake and three more wines.

Still pix can't do justice to the setting. Fortunately, there are several panoramic shots on Tourraque's website. (Google map shows it even better.) Should add that this sort of off the beaten path experience, complete with wine and picnic, is available to those in the know. Just gotta know how to navigate the Tourraque website. Kudos to the Brun family for their initiative!

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on October 25, 2008 9:19 AM.

Why Cornichon Loves Paris: It's Where the Girls Are was the previous entry in this blog.

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