The grape harvest in France, commonly known as the ‘vendange’ is shortly coming to an end with just grapes for the desert wines remaining to be picked. The vendange in France traditionally takes place in September and ends late October, early November timeandduring these autumn months, the vines turn from green to red, transforming the landscape into a patchwork of brilliant colour.
The vast colourful landscapes of the south west region typically draw a lot of hikers and this autumn visitors have been enjoying a dip in the pool after a day’s walking as temperatures have reached into the mid-twenties Celsius.
Gaillac in The Tarn, just 10km away from La Durantie, is one of France’s première wine regions, offering an endless array of wine tasting opportunities.The development at La Durantie overlooks undulating vineyards and miles of dense oak forest, and has recently launched its own wine which proudly bears the label of its own name along with La Durantie’s identifiable flying blue duck; symbolising an escape to tranquility.
The newly reintroduced vines at La Durantie will allow homeowners the delight ofclosely following the process as it develops from vine to glass.There are several different cepages that are unique to the ancient wine region of Gaillac and La Durantie has selected a white Mauzac Sauvignon blend and red Cabernet Duras for their wine.There are also plansto plant a new vine to produce sweet wine.
La Durantie’s history with wine dates back as far as the 13th century and there is record of 600 casks of wine being sent from the domain to England via the fast flowing river Tarn. Over the years however, the vines were left to suffer underthe hands of different ownership and so the reintroduction of the vines todaywill mean that some of Durantie’s lost heritage will be returned.
For the real wine enthusiast homeowners and guests, La Durantie will organise guided tours of the surrounding domains, with the opportunity to try the regions famous wines.
Autumn in the Tarn also brings seasonal gastronomic delights, including chestnuts, cepes (mushrooms) and wild boar. Homeowners at La Durantie can choose to take part in a hunting trip, organised through the concierge team. Although it will involve an early morning start!
Chestnuts were once a staple of life in hard times in parts of France. Today however, they are an end-of-year treat, fire-roasted or candied, or transformed into creamy sauces or scrumptious jams — some even drinkable like liqueur or beer. Many take to the forests in search of these mahogany-coloured jewels hidden in prickly shells that fall from the treetops. A trip to a Chestnut Fair is highly recommended too during the autumn months, such as the nearby Chestnut fair in Laguepie.
On dewy misty mornings you canalso see mushroom pickers seek out the finest wild-growing cèpes morels, and rare truffles. The highly prized black truffles are added to omelettes and pâtés and well-worth a try!