Obwohl Benzin Augenblicklich ein heikler Themen im Frankreich ist, Ich habe es riskiert...!
Although a visit to the pump is a current theme in France, I risked it....!
Même si visiter la pompe n'est pas facile en France a ce moment, je l'ai essayé....!
In France, number one country in the world for good wines, there are various manners in which one can purchase one's wines. One can be strikingly traditional and boring, and buy them in bottles, or one can be slightly more adventurous and buy them in pre-filled "vracs" (containers) varying from 5 litres to 20 litres (a bit heavy to carry) more recently one can buy them in a thing most un-Frenchly named - a "b-in-b" (bag in box) or "cubi" - a sort of cardboard box with a plastic insert containing the wine and equipped with a little tap to make pouring easier. Then - there is MY favourite - in my own "Vracs".
(These are some of the things the French use as "Vracs")
French people use all sorts of things as "Vracs" (containers), from old wine bottles through plastic water containers, and one of the favourites used to be a sort of very sturdy, rigid container, stolen from the hospitals, where they are used for various liquids. Their advantage was/is that they were rectangular - and FLAT - they were ideal for stocking in the car boot.
I've still got a couple of them....... but no car...!
Every wine cave will sell you, at a price, the standard "rigid" plastic ones, empty or full, with or without a little tap, but the secret of taking your own is that you know they are clean (or not), YOU know how much liquid they contain, when full, and you make sure that they ARE filled in the "Cave Cooperative"!
(I once knew a Spaniard who took - week for week - over years - his own Spanish water container that looked the size of the normal French 5 litre ones, but actually contained 6 litres. Over years, he was only charged for 5 litres....!)
Over time, the ladies in the Caves get to know you.....and you can taste a glass or two whilst waiting...gratis - of course!
The main advantage of buying in Vrac, is the price.
Almost all wines are available, with the exception of Champagne or other "mousseux" wine, and of course the high quality category wines like Château Bordeaux, or Burgundy classics.
If, like myself, you live in an area where the local wine is excellent, and is classified elsewhere in the world as "high quality", then you're in seventh heaven.
(wine coop in Vauvert- my filling station...!)
The "Costieres du Gard" - the "Costieres de Nîmes" - "Les Rosés du Sable" - "Les blancs Sauvignon" - "Le Muscat de Lunel" (dessert wine) - all are quite excellent and - to prove the point about price, I did a quick research on the theme, and found that the same bottle of wine, same year, same producer - same everything - was on sale in the UK for between 5 and 8 GBP - the bottle of 75cl.
In USA, it came in at between $18 and $35 - for the same bottle!
Of course, local taxes and "luxury taxes" have something to do with it, but when I think that I drink, daily, the same wines, bought in Vracs from my local co-op, at maximum 1.06eur - THE LITRE.....If I lived elsewhere - I'd be bust!
On top of that, this region is also the location of the most expensive and reputedly the best Rosé wine in the world - "TAVEL" Rosé.
Tavel is about 30kms away, still in the same Department, just a shame I don't like it much, and I prefer the lightly pink, clear, transparent "Rosés du Sable" and "Golfe du Lion" - grown basically on sand, not earth, served ice cold as an Apero, and less chilled with the meal - it's luxury, and renowned world wide.
My price the litre...? Between 1.03 and 1.06euros, depending on the classification "ordinaire" or "vdqs" or "supérieure"!
Incidentally, contrary to what the Tourists think, it's not because they are so pale in colour that they are weaker - in fact it's the opposite...often reaching 15vol, but generally 12 or 13vol - just don't tell them...!
The area also has the famous and sometimes infamous "Cotes du Rhône". We are in the Rhone delta, so theoretically and geographically, all the wines COULD be named "Cotes du Rhone", but this would mean the loss of some very famous names and types of wine.
I'm just happy that this is the case, that the local wines are above "excellent" that I don't have to take a mortgage to get my monthly dosage!
On top of all that, my local "Cave Co-operative" gives me invitations to receptions, and credits me with "loyalty bonus points" depending on my purchases!
The only problem I have is transporting, once a month, my 5 x 5litre "Vracs" but happily the Cave is just a few hundred metres away - coming back is, of course, UPHILL....!
Imagine if I was only a drinker of WATER...I'd have much further to walk, because we have a well-known (I think) source - in the next village, but - on foot that's a long way, and water weighs just as much as wine....!
< Latest news - the "Vin Nouveau d'OC-2010" arrived yesterday as usual the 3rd Thursday in October.
NOT to be confused (apart from taste) with the "Nouveau" or "Primeur" de Beaujolais", which arrives (with much trumpeting) on the 3rd Thursday of November....! >
Busy days ahead.......!
(iwmpop) mr le marquis - Vauvert, France - 22nd Octobre 2010
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