After a 3 hour tour of Mas de Cadenet, we drove to Carpentras, the cutest little town tucked in between some of the most famous AOC's of Southern Rhone...and we were starved.  Of course no place is open for a bite to eat at 4pm, but our bed & breakfast was there during our time in need.  I must take this time to chat about our B&B, Maison Trevier b/c it was such a special experience and I truly recommend it the next time you happen to be in Southern Rhone.  The place was pure charm and romance.  Gina, the owner of the place was adorable and in the few first minutes we spoke with her, she realized she needed to feed us and provide us with a last minute tasting at her most favorite winery in Cairanne.  Before we knew it, she was whipping up a "salad" for us in her kitchen while we sipped on a small carafe of Rose in her garden.  A beautiful little garden filled with fresh herbs, flowers, a terraced porch, and fountain-like pool gave for a setting like no other.  And then the "salad!" One by one she came out with a plate of fresh beefsteak tomato, and mozzarella (adding bits of basil straight from the garden), a plate of fennel and chopped carrots, a plate of field greens and sliced red onion, a plate of cantaloupe, and of course fresh baguettes with bright olive oil for dipping.  It was so fresh, so natural, so delicious.  

And soon she was shooing us off to her favorite winery in Cairanne, Domaine Richaud.  A husband and wife team, Marcel and Marie were cute, happy, and barely spoke any English.  There wines are known for having very little sulfites, chemicals, and therefore, very natural, organic products.  They were of a great value and ranked best in the Rhone Valley in their natural wine making process.  And as we learned, more naturally made wines provide the best expression of the terroir.   

My favorite wine of that tasting was the Cote du Rhone Villages Rouge L'Ebrescade 2008.  

We tasted:

http://www.snooth.com/wine/domaine-richaud-cairanne-blanc-2010/

http://www.snooth.com/wine/domaine-richaud-cotes-du-rhone-rouge-terre-daigles-2010/

http://www.snooth.com/wine/domaine-richaud-cotes-du-rhone-rouge-terre-de-galets-2010/

http://www.snooth.com/wine/domaine-richaud-cotes-du-rhone-villages-cairanne-2009-1/

http://www.snooth.com/wine/domaine-richaud-lebrescade-cotes-du-rhone-2008/

It was super fun, unexpected addition to our trip!

The rest of our time in Carpentras was lovely as well.  Our room at Maison Trevier was beautiful.  I'll never forget the large antique keys used to open & close our heavy wooden doors.  The place felt magical and quiet.  Special considering that we live in the hustle & bustle of NYC.  If you do ever stay at Maison Trevier in Carpentras, the one place you must eat at for dinner is Chez Serge.  I've never seen an owner & Chef so hands on and so active and animated throughout the front of his restaurant.  And the meal was one of the best of that entire vacation.  Each dish, each wine pairing was delish..from foie gras and pork cheek terrine over capers, fresh bright red tomato tart with warm chevre (goat cheese), a local hen, lamb, and delicious desserts with Beaumes de Venise (sweet Southern Rhone wine).

Overall, truly a remarkable day 1 through the wine country of Southern France.  In my next installment, I plan to share my tours to Gigondas and Chateauneuf du Pape.  Stay tuned; I hope you are enjoying so far, b/c it only gets better :)