Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Exciting News: Notre Dame de Cousginac Wine Now Available in California!

Some exciting semi-Words & Wine related news for you:

Teresa and I got an e-mail from our friend and Words & Wine business partner Raphael Pommier (Rachel's other half and the seventh-generation French winemaker who runs Notre Dame de Cousignac) and let us know that one of his Notre Dame de Cousignac wine was finally available in California, at Bevmo! of all places.

We'd been able to find only one or two Notre Dame de Cousignac wines here in the U.S. for a little while (a wine shop in New York carried his rose, one of our favorite wines) but in the last couple of years, the only way to get Notre Dame de Cousignac wine was to smuggle a few bottles over yourself from one of our Words & Wine trips. Well, not anymore!

Raphael's 2007 Notre Dame de Cousignac Cote du Vivarais red wine (Cote du Vivarais is a smaller AOC appellation within the larger Cote du Rhone AOC appellation) has been picked up by Bevmo! and you can now currently buy it, whether you live in California or not!

All you need to do is go to Bevmo's website and search for "Notre Dame de Cousignac" (or just search for "Notre Dame" if you're lazy like me; it's the only entry under either query). Then, if you live in California, you can select your closest Bevmo store and order it online for pick-up. The site will even show you how many bottles are left at that particular Bevmo! (Teresa and I happened to pick up the last two bottles in the Brea store -- when we asked for more, the assistant manager said it was "flying off the shelves" -- and Brea now shows no more bottles left; sorry folks in the greater Brea area). If you're not in California, you can select to have the wine shipped to you in your particular state, and they will do so. It's like magic, only better, because it involves wine.

Anyway, please do your part to help support Rachel & Raphael and Notre Dame de Cousignac by buying up as many bottles of Notre Dame de Cousignac as you can find. If we can show Bevmo! that there's a demand out here for Notre Dame de Cousignac wine, they'll buy more from Raphael's distributor and potentially bring out more of Cousignac wines (including hopefully their outstanding and delicious rose). And that will make everyone happy.

Speaking of roses, for those of you who came on our 2006 Words & Wine trip, you'll remember one of our winery stops was at Gassier in the Coteaux de Provence region, where we met their winemaker Julian and he gave us some flip-flop stickers they were planning on using on one of their wines. You may also remember that we commented that they absolutely needed to call the rose "Flip-Flop wine" and Julian hemmed and hawed about that. Well, take a look at what we found at Bevmo! one shelf away from the Notre Dame de Cousginac wines:

Yep, that's a 2008 Gassier Flip-Flops Rose right there. Just like we named it. Apparently they decided to go with that name AND bring it to America, just like we told them to do (we must have been the ideal focus group for them). But we're still waiting for our royalties from our work naming the wine (we'd be happy to take them in Flip-Flop Rose) and expect to hear from them any day now.

In the meantime, we picked up a couple of bottles of that and recommend that you do as well, as it's super tasty and you'll really enjoy it, even as the weather gets colder and we move further and further away from rose season (do yourself a favor and pick up a case for next spring and summer; you won't be disappointed. Trust us). Same drill as before: go to Bevmo.com and search "Gassier" and select whether you want to pick it up or have it delivered to you.

So that's your wine update for now, but we'll have another update later this week, some big, big news about our upcoming Words & Wine/Forgotten Grapes wine tasting weekend to Santa Barbara and Paso Robles in April. Be prepared, because we'll have all the information you need about the itinerary, pricing, and how you can join us on this can't-miss Forgotten Grape weekend.

Until then, don't forget to pick up your Cousignac wine!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Dates for our 2010 Words & Wine Trips!

Good evening all!

Chris here with a few quick announcements to all those of you interested in our 2010 slate of Words & Wine trips to France. We're very pleased to inform you that we now have the dates for all three of our Summer 2010 trips and can pass them along to you so that you can mark your calendars now.

The trip dates will be as follows:

2010 Whisks & Wine Gourmet Cooking & Wine Tour of France (8 days & 7 nights):
Sunday, June 20th, 2010 - Sunday, June 27th, 2010

2010 Vine & Wine Luxury Wine Tour of France (8 days & 7 nights):
Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 - Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

2010 Words & Wine Writer's Retreat & Wine Tour of France (8 days & 7 nights):
Sunday, August 29th, 2010 - Sunday, September 5th, 2010

We're very excited to announce these dates and hope to not only have pricing within the next few weeks, but to also have www.wordsandwine.com re-formatted to accept your deposits for any of these trips. Space is limited on each one, so be sure to make your reservation and send in your deposit as early as possible to guarantee yourself and spot and avoid ending up on the waitlist.

To entice you event further, here's just a few of the activities we are currently planning for each of these trips:

  • Whisks & Wine: Cooking lessons and wine tasting (of course) at the Universite du Vin in the Rhone Valley; a goat cheese (Picodan and Chevre) tasting; an olive oil tasting; lessons on how to make bread the French way from a real French boulanger; cooking lessons from several of southern France's hottest up-and-coming chefs.
  • Vine & Wine: A visit to the one-million-square-foot wine cave of Domaine Jaboulet, carved into the side of a cliff and once used as an aircraft hangar during World War II, a tour of the famed Hermitage hill and slopes of the Cote Rotie wine appellations, including a visit to the actual 13th century chapel that gave Jaboulet's famed "La Chapelle" Hermitage its name; a day of tastings at the wine cabanas of Die, trying the sparkling Clairette de Die wines of numerous independent producers; a comparative tasting of Rhone wines in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
  • Words & Wine: Lots of free time in the gorgeous and inspiring countryside to write and brainstorm creatively; two visits to local wineries to try out their wares; several gourmet French dinners, both home-cooked and at local bistros and fine dining restaurants.
If you've never been on a Vine & Wine or Words & Wine trip before, you have no idea what you are missing and definitely need to come along with us this summer, as these trips are lining up to be our most spectacular yet. And of course, if you love wine and love to eat and cook, then you absolutely must join us on our inaugural Whisks & Wine trip we're launching this year.

We'll have more information on all three trips -- including all pricing and full itineraries -- in the next few weeks, so until then, mark down these dates in your calendar and continue to visit this blog for all the latests Words & Wine news and information.

Until the next post, a bientot!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Wine. More Food.

Okay food and wine people, you are not making this easy. That poll over there to the right (the one you are supposed to be voting on) is not making the trip planning any easier. We're going to need a few more votes. Hey, the emails are nice but then I have to remember your vote and the poll is just right there waiting for you to reach out and ever so gently....click. Here's more food and wine and lovely views (from actual trips!) to tempt you:

(OMG look at that cheese!!!)
It can't be that hard to choose...okay, well, maybe...food, wine, writing, fantastic travel... Yeah, I'm in the "I want it all" category.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Alrighty then. I didn't have the comments section working properly and I'm sure that explains why many of you emailed us instead of leaving a comment (that or you're just really shy; and we know that's not the case!). The comments section has been fixed--so you can now comment on what you'd like to see in the 2010 trips, or anything else on your mind...yeah, including 2nd, 3rd and 4th choices for those of you who didn't like that you can only vote for one! Which reminds me....vote on the poll! (Scroll down on the right...)

And once again, that's a meal prepared by Rachel & Raphael at their B&B Notre Dame de Cousignac. Hungry yet?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Let the Drinking Begin!!

Welcome Words & Wine people!

We are finally ready to jump into the plans for the 2010 Words & Wine trips. Aren't you excited? Yeah, I know, me too. So 2009 didn't see a Words & Wine trip (what with the economy, the breast cancer, the economy...), that just means we need to do it up twice as well in 2010. We miss France and we're pretty sure France misses us. Okay, France probably doesn't miss Rachel and Raphael since they've been there all year, but I think you get the point... France misses you!!

And this time, those of you interested and pretty sure you'd like to join us will get to help plan the trips!! Woo-hoo!! (I know, it's a really clever way for me to get you to do some of the work. Shhh...pretend not to notice). If you look over to the right you'll see a poll. Yep, you get to let us know what sort of trip you'd be most interested in. And yeah, there's a choice that says in essence "2010 isn't going to be my year" and we'll be sorry to see that, but it's a fair choice.

We're thinking at least two trips. All trips will be in the Rhone Valley/ Provence region and most likely in late June. (When you vote, don't worry too much about the dates--yes, I know, that's kind of important but one thing at a time; first--let's narrow down the type of trip!). Oh, right, you're going to want to know about price. Hmmm...would it surprise you to know that will depend on the type of trip? Yeah, it will. It will also depend on the strength of the dollar. For discussion purposes, think $3,000-5,000 a person (that's all inclusive except airfare; do I look like Air France?? But it does cover ground transportation, accommodations, tours, winery fees, almost all meals and the wine--the wine you drink, not the wine you take home, let's be real people). Below is a description of what we are considering. Peruse, contemplate, salivate, cogitate, and then vote over there on the right. You're voting on the trip described below that you'd be most interested in:

1) Words, Whisks & Wine: This is the writing, eating, wine tasting extravaganza! a 10 day trip that would include cooking lessons, and food related day trips such as a visit to the lavender fields of Larnas (and the lavender factory and museum!), a demonstration of olive pressing, an early morning Avignon market trip with a chance to purchase the fresh ingredients to be used in your cooking class with a guest chef that afternoon, the chance to join a local baker to learn how the world's best bread is made, and/or garden tours. In addition, there would of course be vineyard and winery tours, a day at the seaside town of Cassis (great market there too!), and even some quiet downtime for writing (or relaxing and thinking about writing...hey, it counts!).

2) Whisks & Wine the short version: This is the same trip as #1 above but reduced to 7 days. That means...less downtime (hey, you can still write if you're so inclined, but this won't have a focus on writing).

3) Whisks & Wine the long version: I bet you can guess. Yep, this is like trip # 1, but we'll include more wine related stops--hey, we've got 10 days and you'll be too drunk to write! (Okay, kidding...Raphael always insists that we spit and toss during the tastings. We on the other hand have been known to say "a toss is a loss" and "spittin' is quittin'. Just so you know what you'd be in for on this trip).

4) Words & Wine--the original: The eight day 7 night original trip that is about evenly mixed with wine tasting tours and time for writing--with a whole lot of fabulous food (the French just don't know how to do it any other way).

5) Vine & Wine: This is the "all wine all the time trip." Probably an 8 day 7 night trip. The focus will be on the wine and the vineyards of the region, including a stop at the Universite du Vin. (Yeah, France has a Wine University. Of course they do.) There will be food--but you won't be cooking it. There will be sight seeing (and shopping; sorry, I can't help myself). But mostly, there will be wine. You'll meet the winemakers, tour the wineries, sip the wines, walk the vineyards and then get up (not too early, please) and do it all over again.

There are probably several variations on these trips. We'd just like to get a feel for what folks are interested in most so we make sure we have two good groups going. Yeah, I know, this is a public blog and all kinds of crazies could be reading and voting (not you; I don't mean you). That's why it's only open for a week--so those of you I emailed can respond quickly. Also, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts (um, not anonymously...that makes it hard to sort you out from the crazies, 'kay?) on which trip, things you'd like to see, when you'd like to go, etc.

For more info you can check out the website for Words & Wine and you can check out some photos from past trip in the post below (I'm so proud of myself for figuring out that slideshow! And yeah, those are my photos too). You can also email us.

Oh, and hey, why not sign up as a follower of the blog? That way you'll get all the updates and plus, you'll just feel so cool.* The good news is Chris and Rachel will both be posting to the blog too (um, but neither one of them is necessarily less wordy than I am. We're writers, remember?)

A Bientot!

*your results may vary