The First Sunday of Spring

My optimism paid off, yesterday was a glorious spring Sunday …warm, bright and busy!Sophia Loren?After an early morning bike ride (Mr Hope only) we went to L’Isle sur la Sorgue for a wander through the new array of completely useless, gorgeous things I could happily spent alot of money on.  My favourites were – All sorts of buttons: A pack of large wooden buttons painted red and cream, backed on their original card that was faded and torn and still asking for €3 a piece!  Tiny clear buttons with daubs of green paint and little flecks of glitter and big silver coin sized buttons stamped flat as a crepe with various patterns imprinted on the top.  I also saw a couple dinky paintings – still life’s of flowers and fruit no more than A4 size, next to a box of beautiful 1940s hand made flowers for appliqué.  Approximately two inches in diameter, they had mesh petals and a slim cream band around the edge.  My box of paper French soldiers was still there… if they are still around in a couple of weeks time I might buy Dan an army for his birthday.  What I really fell for however was a metal sign advertising dates with a girl who looked remarkably like Sophia Loren in a belly dancers outfit.DaffodilsI bought none of the above (Sophia was going for €200!) but instead purchased a pot of daffodils and some outrageously strong crystallised ginger for our friends at Domaine Saint Amant who we were en route to visit.  We arrived in time for a supposedly quick lunch (of lentils cooked with smoked sausage, a green salad with boiled eggs and cucumber, radishes, meats, cheeses, bread, red wine and choux pastries for afters) before embarking on a four hour walk around the mountain paths that make up a ‘circle’ route around the Dentelles behind their vineyard.DentellesOutlookIn the evening we went to a wine tasting called I LOVE GRENACHE in Avignon.  Or more precisely in a night club called Delirium in Avignon.  An expo for wine producers, I LOVE GRENACHE featured about 30 vineyards whose wines were at least 60% grenache based.    As a non-drinker wine tasting is rather appealing as now I have been taught how to use the spittoon I can get a sense of what everyone is raving about.  I would like to be able to impart some newly learnt wine wisdom now but sadly my only revelation of the night was how beautiful some bottles labels can be (see Chene Bleu).  Actually thats not entirely true.  I did learn that grenache is the most widely planted red grape in the world.
Chateau UnangWhat I thought was fantastic was that after 9.30pm the general public could pay €12 to come and join the fun… and it was a total mix!  Young, old, wine buff and student all mingled about eating baguette and pate in a wonderfully civilised manner.  You would never have known it was a sunday night.

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