After Part Four of this blog (please see below) you may well have said – well, follow that!
We said it also, and were amazed to find that, in fact, we did – and some!
When we awoke in Campy in the village car park of Chateauneuf-du-Pape after our morning visit with Neil, co-owner of Domaine La Célestière, our afternoon tasting with Michel Blanc, Secretary of the AOC, and a Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine selected from the several bottles kindly given to us – we felt elated, rather than groggy. It had been such a magical day and night.
Our excited chatter was interrupted by a call from Neil, re-emphasising that he’d really meant his invitation for us to visit their other property, Domaine Dalmeran. We hadn’t wanted to impose further on their generosity so had said that we’d love to do some time in the future. Well, let’s be fair – even only 24 hours on was still ‘in the future’!
When we’d remarked how beautiful La Célestière was, he’d thanked us, but said – wait until you see Domaine Dalmeran!
We breakfasted sharpish, packed up and hit the road!
Well – Claire and I were completely bowled over by this magical, mystical, spiritual, truly beautiful part of the world, close to Les Baux de Provence. Neil’s casual, “Oh by the way, no need to sleep in Campy, there’s a house in the grounds for you, the heating is on and it’s yours for as long as you’d like,” bowled us over once again. Such generosity and kindness.
In the morning, a message arrived on my phone – ‘Bonjour, suggest you open your front door.’ I did, of course, and there was a tray with baguette, warm croissant, butter and homemade jam! How wonderful!
That morning we walked a little of this huge estate viewing the vineyards, small and large parcels of vines, some of which Neil had been pruning already, set against a backdrop of huge granite outcrops, surrounding us, along with the tree-studded hills and tiny brooks. Paradise! Neil told us some of the history of the property, pointing out some of the remains of the Roman aqueduct that had crossed the property two thousand years ago, parts of which were perfectly preserved. A medieval well, parts of various other Roman architecture, a chapel, wonderful grounds laid to lawn with multiple trees and so much more make up this amazing property.
We tasted some outstanding wine with Anna, a lovely Spanish young lady who works in the offices at the Domaine’s tasting centre, where we also met Neil’s French wife, Beatrice for the first time. We were told also that there happened to be another young couple staying at the Chateau, Liga from Latvia and Israeli, Doron, who were to be married in two days time, in the chapel in the grounds! Would we like to join the four of them for some tea and cake (Doron is an experienced Michelin restaurant pastry chef) in the Chateau the next evening?
What a beautiful dining room in what was essentially a stately home! We were intrigued as to how Liga (a jeweler who had been working in Hong Kong) and Doron had met, and when we heard the truly romantic story of their courtship and his incredible, amazingly elaborate proposal – well, it’s such a great story! We chatted and I told them all that Claire was an amazing soprano, at which point Claire asked if they might like her to sing a few songs as ‘our’ wedding gift on the day itself! They were so delighted with the idea that discussions ensued re their favourite arias etc.
Needless to say, the small wedding was wonderful and Claire was a great success. We were invited onto the terrace for a glass of Champagne, and afterwards, perhaps we’d like to join them in the Chateau again for dinner?! We accepted with alacrity of course, though insisting that I brought the Spanish wine (Sparkling from Raventos i Blanc; Casa Cisca & Casa de la Vela from Bodegas Castaño; and Casa Boquera’s Selección Limitada – since you ask!) and Claire brought some Spanish style starters!
What a wonderful night we had!
Claire and I knew that we were in for some wonderful experiences on our travels – but, really, this and Part Four, were almost unbelievable!
And, as the comic, said – There’s more!
Thanks for reading – please feel free to comment, by e-mail, or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram please, rather than below, as I have over 2,000 spam comments, for some reason, and it’s very difficult to find genuine ones, which accounts for the probable fact(?) that I may not have replied to anybody who did send a comment. My apologies! Please do make comments as above!
Finally, as you know, this is not a wine blog, but I do know that there are those who would like more specifics about the wines tasted during these experiences. You can find these on my Facebook/Instagram/Twitter accounts – usually my Wine Reviews on Video!