Saturday, May 26, 2012

To Market, To Market

The sun smiled on the annual Market Day at the Hotel Terminus in Cahors.  Although there seemed to be fewer vendors and visitors, it made for easier grazing for those of us who did attend.

There were farm fresh strawberries and asparagus...


artisanal French breads, foie gras and pates...


rotisserie chicken and olive oil...

beignets and tartes....

and lots of Cahors wine tasting.


Yes, it was a good market day for all.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Tasting

Wine is big business and as worldwide competition for customers increases, France needs to up its game.  The Lycee Agri-viti in Le Montat is doing its part by training its students not only in the details of wine production but also in customer service.  And instructor Marie Delphine believes that the ability to receive customers in English is increasingly important.  The culmination of her course was a wine tasting in English for real Anglophones.

On a beautiful spring afternoon, Marie Delphine assembled her “examiners” and gave us instructions on the parameters of the tasting and how to evaluate it.  We were then divided into groups of judges and introduced to our team of tasting guides and their wines.

We were fortunate in that our team was well prepared, confident, and quite fluent.   The first student presented the appellation (Coteaux du Quercy) and the particulars of the lychee’s Domaine de Lacoste.

The second student presented a white “vins de pays” wine and took us through its visual, aromatic and gustatory characteristics.

The next student guided us through the tasting of an unoaked red.

And the final students presented an oaked red.

We the jury were taking our job very seriously.

We toasted their success afterwards with the other judges and students.

Even Bosco was in a celebratory mood.

La Vie en Roses

When our road was replaced a few years ago, an empty space was left in the sidewalk in front of each house. Since Lauzerte is officially designated a (village fleurie), it was the plan that residents (or the village) would plant something green or blossoming. Many people did, planting a variety of flowers, plants, and trees. My neighbors, Wendy and Bob Scott, suggested that our row of houses on the rue du chateau all plant climbing roses. We agreed and in a few years we have an unparalleled rose alley ..

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mission accomplished

Almost two weeks to the day, the scaffolding came down and my new repointed back wall was revealed in all of its splendor. Where once holes, gaps, and discolored cement reigned, there is now a clean, uniform expanse where the beauty of the Quercy stone is highlighted. Thank you, David Cardinali.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Felling

No, it's not a new Danish drama. Lauzerte is in the process of cutting down 12 "sick" trees on the outer road leading up to upper village. They don't look poorly but it is early spring and the trees start off well and then decline through the summer. The workers made fast work of felling them, cutting them up, and carting them off. It's all in day's work for them but a rather ignominious end to these faithful sentinels.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Black Wine, Black Tongue

The 5th annual Concours des vins de Cahors des Vignerons indépendants took place in the lovely riverside town of Puy l'Eveque.  

It was my fifth year of participation and the process was by now familiar and comfortable: the masked bottles, the sniffing, swirling, and tasting....


and, of course, the resulting black tongue from tasting 21 "black" wines.

When the results were announced, there were the usual divergences but also a surprising concurrence between the professionals and consumers in their selection of the top oaked Cahors of 2009. We just might be getting better at our job.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Getting the (re)point

Every few decades a stone house needs some TLC outside. Over time, the jointing material between the stones tends to wear away and needs to be replaced or repointed. It's both a cosmetic and essential maintenance.
The first task is to put up the massive scaffolding to allow the masons
easy access to the facade.
No vertigo here!
Next the scaffolding needs to be covered with netting to protect
passersby from falling debris.
And there already have been some surprised...lots of beautiful brickwork
hidden under a layer of cement.

Stay tuned!