Wine and Castles
In association with Vin en Vacance
Indulge yourself with the ultimate single-day cultural experience in the South of France by blending some of the Roussillon’s most intriguing wine varieties with a drive through breath-taking scenery and escorted tours of stunning castles that played central roles in the region’s tumultuous history of religious crusading and siege warfare.
Passing the lagoons that divide one of Europe’s most celebrated wine-producing regions from the Mediterranean Sea, we leave the fast roads and traffic behind to reach the village of Maury nestling in the Agly Valley. Here we visit one of the finest producers of Côtes de Roussillon wines as well as delicious sweet Maury, the chefs’ choice for pairing with chocolate. After enjoying a private tour of the cellar, where we will learn how distinctive wines have been produced in the region for scores of generations, we will take a look at the impressive French Oak barrel room and finish off with a fabulous wine tasting of the Côtes de Roussillon red and white wines plus the delicious Maury. Possibly some of the most interesting wines in this part of the South of France.
This informative visit is followed by a short drive to little Village of Cucugnan, made famous by Alphonse Daudet in his book Letters from my Windmill (published in 1869), where he sketched not only images of the area’s compelling landscape but colorful observations on the human condition. You and other members of the small party will have an opportunity to explore your own newly acquired geographical, vinicultural and historical insights over lunch at an excellent Auberge that serves traditional local dishes.
Throughout this and other phases of the tour, James will explain essential facts about Cathar theology and the perceived threat it posed to the Vatican as well as the tangled political context, involving such actors as the Viscount of Carcassonne and the Kings of France and Aragon, in which these issues were played out.