With music, cultural and food and wine festivals going on during the summer months, here is a selection of some that might appeal to readers if you are in the Rhône Valley during August and September, 2017.
GRIGNAN is an appellation that is moving forward after years in the wilderness, just a couple of valid domaines, notably GRANGENEUVE and MONTINE, propping it up. There are now others perking things up. The terroir has always been good, lots of alluvial stones spread across the clay-limestone soils, with pockets of shrub bordering and warming the vineyards, a clos effect, thus.
This is a nocturnal bar that includes art and local produce of the land.
17.00 onwards. The 31st edition of this event. Tastings, “Food Trucks”, bar, concert, animation, local transport from outside the village into the action. It will be attended by 14 VIGNERONS and the CAVE DE RASTEAU. There will be an artisan market in the PLACE DU VILLAGE, as well as a BAR. The cost is €5, for which you receive a Tasting Glass to get you going.
17.00-24.00. The 22nd edition of this event, announcing the start of the harvest. This year’s theme is “For once, tastes and colours discuss between themselves [we are in the land of VOLTAIRE and SARTRE, dear Reader] . . . and taste themselves.” It is organized by the COMPAGNONS DES CÔTES DU RHÔNE.
There is a GRANDE PARADE, a Pressing of this year’s grapes and a BALL. This event rocks across AVIGNON, all around the streets, and is very well attended.
10.00-24.00 A very friendly, eco-friendly event set in motion by the wonderful couple of JEAN and MARTINE DAVID, who make excellent organic wines, full of character. There are horse carriage rides, horse displays, tastings in the vineyards, children’s entertainments, and dishes such as the local SOUPE AU PISTOU. HUE translates as “GEE UP” or “GIDDY UP”, or even “GO ON MY SON” if the horse leads entering the final furlong! €6 for tasting glass, carriage ride, €2 for the under 12s. It is organized by the SYNDICAT DES VIGNERONS, PRESIDENT CHRISTIAN VOEUX of DOMAINE DE L’AMAUVE
18.00 CONCERT IN THE CHURCH OF VISAN, BACH, MOZART FLUTE & STRINGS, BEETHOVEN, BRAHMS, CHOPIN NOCTURNES, POULENC SONATA FLUTE & PIANO, DEBUSSY CLAIR DE LUNE, KHATCHATURIAN SABRE DANCE €15, PERFORMED BY THE GROUP NOVA
19.30 PARADE OF THE CONFRERIE DES VIGNERONS
20.30 TASTING & DINING AT THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HÔTEL DE PÉLISSIER, €15 OR €25 FOR BOTH CONCERT & DINNER
09.00-17.30 THE GYMNASE, SAINT-PÉRAY. There will be a Produce Market as well as Tutored Tastings. There will be 60-70 domaines present from near VIENNE down to near NÎMES. Foods will range from producers of snails, foie gras, charcuterie, cheese, honey, patisserie. €6 entry, reduced to €3 if you buy €50 of goods or zero if you buy more than €50 of goods. Check the pricing, though: it might be out of date! The principle remains the same.
A vineyard walk in the DENTELLES DE MONTMIRAIL, tasting and gastronomy offered by chefs who were disciples of AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER, which will promise excellent, full dishes for the white and red wines of the region. This is a morning, lunchtime event. It is organized by the CAVE DE VACQUEYRAS, now known as RHONÉA after its merger with the CAVE DE BEAUMES-DE-VENISE.
09.00-late afternoon. I include this as a quirky, full day that extols the GALLO-ROMAN HERITAGE of VIENNE. There is a guided tour of the MUSEUM at SAINT ROMAIN-EN-GAL across the river from VIENNE – mosaics, pottery, a reconstituted Roman vineyard as well. There is then a lunch-banquet in Gallic fashion. As you move around VIENNE on a guided tour in the afternoon, it takes in winemaking and pressing from those days, with people suitably clad for such demos, and tastings, while you are escorted to see VIENNE’s most famous Roman remains, including, of course, LA PYRAMIDE, which was the finishing post in the chariot races, and the TEMPLE OF AUGUSTUS AND LIVY. PLEASE NOTE: this is for Groups of people, it seems, rather than individuals. For 20 people, the cost is €32 per person.
However, there is also an event at the DOMAINE DES ALLOBROGES, which is not for such groups. This involves harvesting grapes, pressing and crushing the crop, and a banquet. The ROMAN LUNCH at 12.30 is €16, children €10.