There once was an airline that claimed “Getting there is half the fun.” If that was ever true, it certainly is no longer. I think of that whenever I plan my trips to wine country. In about ten days I fly off to France to spend time in the vineyards of Provence, Beaujolais, Burgundy, and Alsace.
It is fun to think about which wineries to visit, which castles to look at, and which restaurants to dine in — and hastily I add that it’s the latter anymore that gets priority attention in my planning process. I look forward to long-time friends — the Humbrects, Hugels, and Trimbachs, the Leflaives, Roys, Duboeufs, and others. But I have seen their vineyards and their wineries many times. These days conversation will do, along with a glass or two.
So far we’re having fun. The other half of planning is the recall of days hot or frosty, dusty or rainy, in vineyards reached only over unpaved chemins after being lost on the way. Conversation in the parlor is the real fun half.
I will inspect some rose properties near Arles an d Nimes, but I am focused on enjoying my fine wines with such master chefs as Marc Haeberlin and Sophie Pic, whose families I have known for decades. My most attentive planning will be in selecting which of the rising chefs I will call on. That is truly half the fun!