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ON THE WINE ROADS OF FRANCE WITH
CHARLES NEAL


A 2006 Excursion
Page 2

 

After visiting with Pierre Speyer at Domaine Laffont, we motored to one of his neighbors and competitors...Chteau Berthoumieu.

Didier Barr is the owner and winemaker and he's got some terrific wines.


Charles de Batz is the famous Musketeer, D'Artagnan.  It's Didier's special bottling of Madiran which we like so much.


The cellar door.  Nice key ring!

We were invited to lunch...





We had some sort of stewed chicken for the main course...


The wines were terrific.  A few years in the bottle certainly gives them a nice dimension.  I must confess, however, I do like the more aggressive and youthful bottlings.



Then we drove to Juranon...


Jean Bernard Larrieu makes some terrific wines.

Some dry wines...some sweet wines.

After finding our hotel, we ventured into town and found Jean Bernard's suggestion of a cider-works for dinner.

Txotx (sounds like "chatch") is the stream of cider which flows out of the cask and into your glass.  That is, if you're using a glass.

We ordered a pitcher of Basque Cider...

We ordered several different starters...

Fried Calamari.


Jeff and Charles were asleep during dinner, so I'm not surprised they barely remember dining at this place.

We finished the evening with a local Basque beer...Oldarki.

Jeff woke up for the beer.

I'm not sure what to make of this...

The gas station across from our hotel was selling the wines of the local grower's cooperative winery.  I'm not sure if they make Unleaded, or what.

From Juranon we drove to Barn and the only independent winery within the appellation.

They have two names, in case you don't like Lapeyre, you can have Guilhemas.
Actually, however, the wines are different.

We had a look at their vineyards and then strolled through the cellar before tasting.


Winemaker Pascal Lapeyre and importer/chauffeur Charles Neal.


The barrel cellar.


Barn wines used to be bottled in tall bottles reminiscent of those used in Alsace and Germany.


The cellar door.

We took off in search of a place for a winter-time picnic in the vineyards...And Charles found us a spot...


Please notice the official Riedel Barn picnic wine-tasting glass.

Next stop was in the Basque appellation of Irouleguy.


Meanwhile, we lost one of our flock for a brief period, as Jeff went looking for some relatives or old friends.  We wondered what he was up to and he grinned sheepishly...We asked no further questions.

From there we drove to Spain's famous city of San Sebastian.


We were in search of tapas and good wine.


Seor!  Your order is ready!!

On to the next place...

Off to the next place...


Pacharan.

We returned to Gandarias in search of a table and some serious wines.

 




One of the best bottles of the evening...


One of the best plates of the evening...



We had a couple of shots of some sort of distillate and then departed, vaguely heading in the direction of our hotel.

Someone then ran down to the beach to have a bit more exposure to Spain...two others followed...


Lucky for these fellows the camera did not have much better 'vision' than did they at this point in the evening...

After a short snooze, we had a little stroll around town the following morning (or was it the same day?).

From San Sebastian we pointed the wagon in the direction of Armagnac...

On to the next page

BACK TO THE FIRST "Travels With Charlie" Page





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