Insta life

I have been busy with Instagram, it's so fast and handy and Instant! Real life is full of layers and moments and is considerably more messy than just a few snap shots but its fun to look back at the dream. Visit our daily posts over at lacombedujardinier on Instagram.  



It goes by so fast, time that is.
Wouldn't it be lovely to just lay around in the dust of other people's hard work all day, jumping up with vigor only for your two meals a day!


Holiday's in the vineyards

Early on this year I mentioned another project on the go, I am sorry to have kept you hanging for so long.....but I am super excited to finally present to you all our newest project....... 
La Combe du Jardinier Holiday Rentals! We are opening our doors to all of you who have been dreaming of spending some time on the domain living the life of a vigneron or just enjoying a quiet holiday in the South of France. You can find out all about our rental properties, wine tourism and the region on our website. To book a holiday you can contact us here or by phone, e mail or leave a comment in the comment box. Can't wait to see you this summer.
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Salon des vins Herault, Le Languedoc a Bruxelles

Packing my bags and ready to head off to Brussels tomorrow for a wine salon, it will be nice to trade in my work boots for a pair of heals and poor sips of wine for a few days...but a few days in the city is always enough for me, I will be happy to get back to the southern sun, my boys and all the vines still waiting to be pruned
Anyone in brussels this sunday or monday should definitely check out the salon, there are 120 different wine makers and many delicious wines to be tasted, you can find out more information on their web site here. Stop by our stand I would love to see you.

I will have a morning off, what great things should I do in brussels, other than eating french fries (cause I will definitely be doing a lot of that!)

happy week end


snow day in the vineyards

I saw my first iris today, such a blatantly sexy flower. The almond blossoms are just starting to blossom and the days are slowly getting longer so our snow day just two weeks ago seams like a hole different season away. Snow is a pretty rare commodity around here so with just three snow flakes one on top of the other the entire area comes to a stand still, schools shut down, folk stop driving and a quiet magical feeling falls over the village. 


blending the barrels 2012

Making wine for a living, how romantic does that sound?

Well it is romantic and passionate but it's also very hard bloody work. I laugh sometimes when people say we are 'living the dream' and I guess we kind of are in a way but it doesn't always feel like a dream. It's what we do, what has become of our lives, one part of a complicated set of events that fills the 17 odd hours we spend not sleeping every day. There have been a lot of beautiful moments as well as some tears and heart ache since we took on our first vineyard in 2009 but there are few days like dec 6 2012, the day we blended the barrels. 
We both woke up, faces a pale shade of green and a strong urge to pull the covers over our heads and wait out the day in hibernation but knowing dreadfully that the barrels had to be blended that day. Just getting up and getting the kids off to school with matching sets of the flue is a feat in it'self but spending the day tasting and blending red oaked wine is like running a marathon backwards.  
Tasting wine for fun is really fun but tasting wine for work is equally really hard work. We had 9 barrels of different wines that had to be blended into one perfect wine. 5% of one wine can change the blend drastically so we basically had an infinite amount of possibilities to taste (hense the spitting). Blending a wine is a serious art and can make or brake the last two years of hard labour put in to making the wines in the first place, you have to remember each wine you've tasted, you have to taste each aspect of each wine and way different pro's and con's against each other some times tasting for hours. Tasting and re-tasting, tasting and re-tasting. I am such a beginner at this, with a lot of effort and concentration I can focus on what I think tastes good and what I think doesn't work but I could't tell you for the life of me why or where those tastes were coming from. In awe I watched Christophe mixing a bit more of this a dash of that each time transforming any negatives in to the exact tastes we were looking for. After 5 hours of our noses in glasses, wine swirling around our mouths he had managed to manipulate like a sculptor pulls his form from a block of marble a beautifully elegant wine from the raw simple materials; sun, soil, grapes, yeast, oak and oxygen.

ok so, i'll take this dream any day.




merry noel

i know i know, time moves fast these days and christmas was AGES ago, i ment to get this post up in December but you know the days turn into weeks and before you know it here we are looking strait into february blogging about the ancient 2012.

Christmas in France (in these parts) is all about the food. We eat, we eat well, we eat for hours, for days and then we talk about eating. We start the family meals on the 23, lunch and dinner!training, preparing for the 25, the meal of all meals christmas lunch! It is an epic affair. My mother in law cooks for days in order to prepare, shopping for weeks in order to purchase and order the finest ingredients. My father in law has his jobs, oysters and champagne are his domain. Christophe's grandmother brought the foie gras, an entire cured ham was won by an uncle in a local bingo game and brought to the table and we were in charge of the bread and wine making the meal some what of a group effort but the brunt of the work is done by my mother in law, a saint in the kitchen. The meal is eaten like all french meals, in stages. None of this north american heaping mound of food on ones plate, salads seeping into turkey and mashed potatoes. Each dish is savoured, respected and truly tasted. 
This is not a meal to be rushed.

Starting with a crisp white wine and fresh oysters.

Langoustine perfectly cooked and served with a home made mayonnaise and if that is not to your tasting smoked salmon with a slice of butter.  

 This is what was left of the foie gras and jambon by the time it got around to me, the cured sausage and paté never did make it in front of the camera.

 The die hards got stuck into the main course, roast turkey and fried potatoes but my poor canadian tummy just didn't have the stamina. 

So i hung out with my beautiful niece who was by the way the star of the show this year around the christmas table, nothing better than babies at christmas time. 

The cheese plate goes with out saying, I have yet to finish a french meal without a piece of cheese. There was a goats cheese dipped in ash, a sheep cheese from the black mountains and a graisse de noel which is a cantal made from the first milk after the cows come in from the pastures, it is light and creamy and a sure sign of the season.

Some where in the early evening we finished it all off with the mother of all deserts, a home made bûche de noel. The cake takes a good afternoon and serious bakers patience to make, my mother in law made two of them, a vanilla and a chocolate for each and every taste preference. With a glass of champagne we toasted another christmas together and start the serious work of digestion (until new years day when we do it all over again!)