A balmy evening in late August, chilled rosé and sauvignon blanc on tap direct from the domaine, the aroma of sausages sizzling on the barbecue and the soft strummings of jazz in the background …. sublime moments which echo the very nature of la belle vie in the South of France.
The invitation came by email : ‘La Domaine de l’Orviel vous invite à une soirée conviviale de jazz, dégustation et BBQ entre amis’ … our group of 10 decided it would be a pleasant way to spend an evening, on a domaine, not a stone’s throw away from chez nous and in part, in competition with the cave which blends our own grapes. We arrived early and our initial concern that we would be the only guests quickly disintegrated as car load after car load of people descended on the domaine to create a lively party crowd of over 200.
Picture the scene … an independent wine domaine; producers of, amongst others, sauvignon, viognier, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, mouvedre and grenache, hosts en evening of entertainment with winetasting. We installe ourselves around a table, surrounded by the vineyards where the grapes are ripening, the distant peaks of the Cevennes mountains create a backdrop to a deep red sunset which signals another sunny day to follow the balmy evening, the jazz band serenades the lively audience and the aromas of the barbecue begin to waft and fill the atmosphere. The aperitifs and canapés led seamlessly to the entrées, BBQ , crepes and coffee and, as a friend commented, ‘some very decent wine’.
In typical french (un)commercial style, nobody was pushing sales of the wine – if you wanted to purchase some wine, you could, but the raison d’etre of the soirée felt more like the advertised convivial evening amongst friends.
We ambled home shortly after midnight, well fed and pleasantly merry, comparing notes on how our evening could have been spent in a less sympathetic climate – our expectations of the southern french quality of life nicely fulfilled.