The old world of Montpellier has every tourist craving to see all corners. The shrunken streets can have you winding around the city, lost in the French sun. After following the footsteps of the fallen, French kings, it was time to sit down and taste the local wines. Rosés and crisp whites were at the top of our list, and the cafe did not disappoint. Through conversation and spontaneity, the local wine expert, our new found friend, recommended a winery that is owned by one of his friends. The winery has never done any tours, nor brought guests to their land, but will gladly show French-wine lovers their vineyard. Numbers were exchanged, language barriers were torn down, and a time with a pick-up place was setup. We were Americans bound to a town of a thousand to try the native life.
Sam zipped down in twenty minutes to pick us up at the train station, and before we reached his town, we were instant friends. His vineyard is nestled in between rolling hills, protected from the northern wind, but having a clear path to the Mediterranean Sea. Sam’s wine carried an assortment of grapes, but his pride was the rosé. He talked about his life with such great passion; the love he has everyday creating wine, and the hard work that must follow. Everyday starts at four in the morning and ending at eight in the evening. One can see the love he has for his crop.
Driving through his valley is something from a fairytale. Sam articulated his story and his land with affection, but would stop in mid-sentence, “one moment.” He steps outside while picking two plants. “Smell. Tell me. What is it?” There are limitless amounts of wild thyme and rosemary growing on the side of the road. After smelling these herbs, two minutes go by, then he points at wild figs growing on the side of the road. Is this heaven?
Walking with Sam describing the grapes and the harvest had to come to an end. It was time to view the final product. There is no tasting room, so Sam brought the wine experience into his home. The whites, the reds, and the rosés were all placed in front of our eyes. Sam wanted to know if we wanted hand-made cheese that was from his mother in Sancerre, and my heaven came to fruition. We talked as if we were long-time friends, and he wanted these encounters to happen more in his life, and southern France needs to get more in our lives.
Sam opened his home and his passion to us. We will forever be grateful for the love and the wine.