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Archive from June 2014

Raising the training wires and biodynamic farming at Domaine la Cabotte

Last Saturday we were welcomed to Domaine la Cabotte, in the heart of the Massif d'Uchaux region of the Rhône Valley. Marie-Pierre and Eric Plumet d'Ardhuy initiated us in working in the vineyard and introduced us to the biodynamic farming principles used on the estate. We had a very instructive day with some very warm sunshine!
Wine making course in the Rhone Valley

As our guests noted, Domaine la Cabotte is to be found in the middle of the vines, surrounded by wooded hills, vineyards and the Mont Ventoux in the distance. What better place to discover the profession of wine making. The aim of the Discovery Experience Day is to understand the work carried out in the vineyard from winter right up to the harvest the following autumn, and so we began the day in the vineyard.

Vineyard tour in the Rhône Valley

Eric recounted the history of the winery and the establishment of the Massif d'Uchaux wine appellation. He then brought us up to speed on the work that Marie-Pierre and he had already done since last winter, covering such topics as pruning and the flowering of the vines. He then showed us how to raise the training wires to better space and support the weight of the vines as they grow.

French wine making course in the Rhône Valley

The training wires had just been raised, but had not yet been attached. Armed with handfuls of clips, we clipped the wires together to keep the vine branches in place between the wires. It can get very hot in the middle of the vineyard, particularly in the Rhône Valley, and luckily Marie-Pierre had brought some home-made drinks to share with us! After this full morning, we were glad to find some shade back at the winery to taste some of the estate's wines and enjoy the meal prepared by Marie-Pierre.

Winemaker meal Domaine la Cabotte France

We spent the afternoon in the cool of the chai, where Eric talked to us about the different herbal treatments made of horsetail, valerian, stinging nettles and the like, that serve to help stimulate the growth of the plant. He also showed us how the soil is vitalised using a preparation of cow manure that has been buried in cow horns according to the biodynamic principles.

Biodynamic farming in France Rhône Valley

Eric finished the day by briefly explaining the key steps in fermenting the wine, something that we will go into more detail about during the Vinification Experience Days.

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Domaine la Cabotte. Top Pick from Decanter.

In their July 2014 issue, Decanter rated the best Côtes du Rhône Villages wines from the 2011 and 2012 vintages. Gourmet Odyssey's partner from the Rhône Valley, Domaine la Cabotte was rated among the very best producers with two of the three taster's including Domaine la Cabotte's "Gabriel" Massif d'Uchaux 2012 wine in their top three wines of the 100 wines tasted.


Decanter July 2014


The 2012 vintage of Gabriel was one of just three wines to be "highly recommended", and the wine chosen for the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience, Garance, was also included in the "recommended" category for the 2012 vintage.

Decanter noted that when choosing Côtes du Rhône Villages wines, it pays to know which appellations to look out for, and they concentrated their article on the most notable villages and the ones that are on the rise. The Massif d'Uchaux is one of the newer Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations, and according to Decanter is deserving to be much better known for the quality of their wines. We certainly agree, and with Domaine la Cabotte leading the way, it's surely just a matter of time.

See more accolades for our partners  

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Original Wine Gift for Father’s Day

What's the ideal father's day gift to choose for a wine lover? This year, give more than a simple wine tasting gift, and adopt some vines for your Dad in France. It makes for a unique wine experience gift.

If your Dad is interested in wine but has never had the opportunity to get involved in making wine with a winemaker, the Gourmet Oydssey Wine Experience will enable him to learn first-hand about all of the work in the vineyard and cellar. He'll be the adoptive owner of his vines for a winemaking year and, thanks to the newsletters and photos, he'll follow all of the steps in making his personalised wine.

He can also get stuck in and learn by participating in working at the winery for one of the Discovery, Harvest or Vinification Experience Days. He'll visit one of our seven partner vineyards and spend the day with the winemaker.

All of our partner wineries are organically certified, and are chosen for the quality of their wine, and the enthusiasm of the winemakers in sharing their passion for their profession. It's an unforgettable experience that will enable your father to open his bottles of wine in good company and explain how they were made.

Our welcome gift packs contain a sommelier's apron, a DropStop, adoption certificate and a brochure that explains the experience. They are delivered within 2 to 5 days depending on the delivery country, and for any last minute gifts, we'll send a copy of the certificate by email ahead of the welcome pack.

And the little added bonus, is that the Experience Days are valid for two people to share the fun!

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The Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

Adopt a Vine in France and Follow the Making of Your Own Wine !

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