Purple Palate Blog

Day 23 – CNdP to Port Vendres

Into the car (again), and off towards the Roussillon region, heading back towards Spain.

We were sent off with warning from our host to grab fuel wherever we could as the protests against the tax on fuel were getting uglier.

We headed to Chateau Des Fines Roches (Domaine’s Mousset), where I tried several Grenache dominant blends typical of the region. Even the whites were blends of Grenache Blanc and Gris.

The whites were quite fruit driven with medium alcohol with some intense blossom and stone fruit, but where not high in acid.

The reds, with the addition of Cinsault, were bright with fresh acid, ripe red fruits and showed a good depth of colour.

A quick swing past the chocolate shop to buy Cody’s affection back and we headed off to Port Vendres (via Pont du Gard) where we sat on the river bank looking at the 2000 year old aqueduct and ate cold Croque Monsuir and boiled eggs for lunch… mmmm yum.

Our host had told us we must visit Saint Marie de la Mer on the south coast via the La Camargue national park. Oh my god. It was like the boondocks of Alabama. I kept hearing banjo music in my head. Mud flats, bedraggled looking wild horses (I’m sure on a bright sunny day they would have been majestic, just not today). Roz suggested pulling off into a car park and having a wander because “there must be a reason he sent us here”. Yeah… Flamingos are really really big and really really pink. Hundreds of them. Having satisfied our curiosity and lost most of the day by now we jumped onto the motorway to get to our accommodation before dark.

About those fuels protesters… love their work. After 150km on the tollway, we got to our exit expecting to pay between 30 and 40 euro in tolls. Nope. The protesters had commandeered the toll booths, opened the boom gates and were collecting tickets and letting everyone go through for free. A really effective way to get people onside with your cause.

Got to our accomodation in Port Vendres on dark, and wandered out for dinner. France had one last chance to impress us with its cuisine.

Chèvre salad and a bottle of Grenache Carignan blend from Nature de Schiste. It was the first wine of the trip that had a ripe rich generosity of fruit, in a much more new world style, due to the warmer southern region of France and its Mediterranean climate.

Have an appointment tomorrow morning with a local wine retailer at les Caves de Roussillon. Looking forward to picking his brains.


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