Lazy Days in Provence

It's a while since we have stayed in a French gite and some are certainly better equipped than others but, armed with a basic survival kit of sharp knives, cafetiere and Dualit milk frother it is amazing on how one quickly adapts to a simple, paired down lifestyle. Days eases into a stress free pattern with little else to bother about other than finding a decent boulangerie (none are ever quite as good as the Baguette Tradition back at home), the local bottle bank (so well hidden so by the time we found it our bulging bags clinked so loudly that they alerted the entire village) and of course, the beach (a different place each time, Provence having many superb choices).

With white washed walls, traditional terracotta tiled floors and a Cotes de Provence appellation our accommodation is slap bang in the middle of a tiny family run vineyard where it was interesting to hear about and taste their produce. There is a small window around September when the grapes are at their peak and ready to be harvested then immediately pressed and blended on site. Each year and dependent on the grapes, a decision is made as to whether the wine will be purely rose or a combination of this and red but essentially, the rose wine is produced from the first press with red from the remainder. Chateau Montagne rose is light and fruity whilst the red which has been aged with a variety of oak chips is full flavoured dry and a delicious accompaniment to game and red meats.

Surrounded by distant mountains, the vineyard lies in a basin where moisture is stored underground and produces healthy, succulent vines that add to the beautiful scenery of the region but, this is not the only point of interest: the vineyard lies adjacent to an airstrip which wasn't something that we were aware of but, a variety of light aircraft alongside military personnel has provided an entertaining backdrop to morning jaunts to the village boulangerie...