Getting the taste
Stephanie Voyager takes to the road with a French wine trip, courtesy of Arblaster & Clarke, to Burgundy and Beaujolais
Although I didn't know what to expect, as a lover of food and wine I was sure I would enjoy the trip. It wasn't until I received my itinerary that I realised that it was a coach trip with a set-off time of 5.45am.
People seem to either love or hate coach trips. I was about to find out, as I had never been on one for more
than a day at a time.
There was, of course, some trepidation on going on holiday with 31 strangers.
Would we get on? What would be the age group of my fellow companions? Would everyone be in couples?
I needn't have worried.
'Usually at least one-third
are single,' said our guide Rebecca, a very competent lady who had studied wine at Bordeaux University, and spoke fluent French.
People came from all over the country, including Scotland, with at least half the single people having
partners, but leaving their spouses behind to pursue their own interests. By the end of the first day, I was chatting to everyone around me as if we had known each. other for ages.
Although we had to spend most of the day on the coach, bar the crossing, the journey was broken up with an onboard tasting of wines from the areas we would be visiting.
We were lucky enough to have with us as wine guide
Derek Smedley, a Master of Wine, who has been in the trade for over 40 years.
Although many of the people were knowledgeable on wines, there were also those who enjoyed their wine, but knew very little more - for example, how it is made, the different grapes or the importance of the soil.
Without being too technical, Derek was able to tell us as much as we wanted to know, and for those for
whom the details were unimportant, the information just went over their heads.
Without even wanting to, information somehow got stored in our memories, so that when we visited a particular vineyard we were able to get a lot out of it.
Web site created by Mark Griffin