Picture this - a warm sunny Provençal day in the south of France. It's early May. The setting is a table, inlaid with tiles, in the shade of a tree in a vineyard. You and your sweetheart are enjoying a picnic lunch of cheeses, spreads, jams, and meats. To go with the picnic, you have a bottle of wine, a fresh épi and a loaf of olive bread.
The wine you are drinking is one you chose yourselves after tasting a selection of the wines made right at the vineyard.
Last May, my wife and I enjoyed just this experience at Domaine de Marotte, Petit Chemin de Serres, 84200 Carpentras, France, where we had a Pique Nique Vigneron, or Wine Makers Picnic. We started the day with a drive from Mas St Antoine, our home away from home just south of Avignon, to the Domaine. First up, after meeting Elvire Vandykman, owner and partner with her husband Daan, was a self-guided audio tour of the vineyard and winery. Admittedly there were some technology problems with the audio equipment, but that just made the day even better as we got to finish the tour with Daan as our personal guide. It was delightful to see and hear the passion and enthusiasm that both Daan and Elvire have for their wines and their estate.
Our lunch included the breads, olive tapenade, cooked courgette, a tomato confit, fig jam, fresh chevre, Comté and Camembert cheeses, and charcuterie, all from local producers, and a bottle of Domaine de Marotte Cuvée Luc wine. To finish, we enjoyed fresh strawberries, one of Pat's all time favorite foods. After lunch, Pat sketched a watercolor painting while I read and napped. Time moved at that slow sweet pace when everything is in place and there is nothing more you can ask for of the world.
At the time of this posting, the cost for a Pique Nique Vigneron for two is 22 € per person, or about $58 total, which includes the tour and the wine tasting as well.
If you should find your way to Provençe, this is a stop well worth making. And when you are there, please give Elvire and Daan our best regards.
Domaine de Marotte