From our base in the medieval hilltop village of Sablet, we have easy access to most of the Vaucluse wine villages. One of the key objectives of our visit was to do a recce for a wine walking holiday with friends in 2014. The first task was to find a suitable base for about twelve people. Trawling the net threw up a number of chateaux and hotels that might be appropriate but one stood out, Chateau Juvenal at Saint Hippolyte le Graveyron, conveniently sited on the road between Beaumes de Venise and Caromb.
It ticks all the boxes on accommodation, food etc and makes good wine as well in the Ventoux appellation. We can now plan the details from a long list of walks, restaurants,wine tasting opportunities, cooking classes and other outings.
We didn't entirely ignore the reds. We particularly like the Vacqueras from Les Amouriers, both Signature and Geneste cuvees. We also liked the classy but expensive Moulin de la Gardette Gigondas at their cave in the centre of Gigondas next to the Cave des Vignerons where you can taste the output of almost every property.
On the restaurant front we found some good new addresses. In Le Barrou we enjoyed lunch at L'Entre Potes, the bistro attached to the classy le Gajulea next door. Out on the Plan de Dieu near Cairanne we found the newly opened Coteaux et Fourchettes. Excellent value with a wine shop attached. Across in Carpentras, Chez Serge delivered an excellent lunch. The restaurant is conveniently sited across from the Platanes car park. We first met Serge by coincidence in a vineyard in the Languedoc. He's a larger than life character who has made a considerable reputation for himself.
One of the highlights was visiting the artist Marysia Donaldson at her lovely home near Tulette. We rented a holiday property from them a few years ago. I was able to present her with a copy of my first book, The Stuart Agenda, which used her house for a scene and mentions a painting by her late husband, David Donaldson, a portrait of the Queen in Holyrood Palace.
We did a nice walk up from Suzette, another charming village, higher up at the back of the Dentelles. We enjoyed coffee in it's only restaurant, Les Coquelicots. At the end of the week we looked forward to stopovers on the return journey at Julienas in the Beaujolais and Puligny Montrachet in Burgundy.
Novels by Alan Calder
The Glorious Twelfth published by Museitup https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=531&category_id=69&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1
The Stuart Agenda published by Willowmoon www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005BJ3GNI