|We are in the Rhone valley heading towards region of Provence. We docked last night in Tournon. This is an important wine producing area known for its Shiraz grapes. Famous for red Hermitage and white Lamage and Chant-Alouette wines. Wines in France are named, not for the kind of grape, but for the area it is grown and produced.
We started the morning with a lecture on France. We attended because the speaker was Christain who we had as a guide in Lyon and Perouges! He is very animated and not an arrogant Frenchman! He made it interesting and humorous!
We traveled across the river to Tain l'Hermitage, famous for producing one of the eight "finest" wines designated by the AOC.
Here there are also many orchards, growing 1/3 of all of France's fruit...apricots(1/2 of all of France's), cherries, peaches and apples. In the 19th century many vineyards were destroyed by an insect. The remainng vines were saved by a stock root graft from America that was resistant to the insect. The dead vineyards were replanted with fruit trees. In the 1950s " Nice pas", strong winds from the north killed many of the orchards and these areas were replanted as vineyards.
We visited Chocolaterie Valrhona, a famous French chocolate factory. The chocolate was recommended by the chef on the privious ship as well by Bobby Flay(on a program we had watched on Food Network). Samples were all over the store and I gorged myself. Delicious, but I think Belgian is better for eating and this is best for baking! I will be baking up a storm when we get home!
We then made a short stop at the pedestrian suspension bridge(the first built over the Rhone) built by Marc Sequin, the inventor of the suspension bridge, the first steamboat and the tubular steam boiler for steam locomotives.
We then went to the Musee Palue. This museum was started in 2000 by painter, Pierre Palue and his daughter, Marie. It is located in a 500 year old house that Marie has restored and lives in. Here are displayed not only some of his paintings but those of his students. We met Marie who is obviously very proud of her father who died in 2005.
Our last stop was a winery known for its Crozes wines. Owners are Luke and Kathy. The barrels were just filled with the wine from the 2012 grape crop and they were in the process of bottling the 2011 wine. Of course there was wine tasting.
FYI our guide for this trip is married to a Frenchman, has lived in the area for 28 years but is originally from northern Pennsylvania. Perfect English...no accent!
We are sailing off to Arles. We were suppose to make a stop at Viviers but the port is flooded!