We met Kristin & Jean-Marc through reading Kristin’s blog (french-word-a-day) over two years ago. In my earlier post from 3 May 2012, “When Blogs Cross Paths” I describe the details of how we became friends.
We had planned to be in France’s southwest during the first week of May, so we were very excited to be able to take part in one of the wine tastings at Domain Rouge-Bleu in Provence, where Kristin and Jean-Marc live and produce wonderful wine.
So there we were, in a blink of an eye – and a couple of hours on a Ryanair flight from East Midlands airport in the UK – back in the south of France once again. Though the main purpose of the trip was to visit our newly selected property, the first order of business was a visit to Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Since it was almost a three hour drive from where we were staying in Carcassonne, we decided to stay in a hotel near their house for the night. After all we would be tasting wine all afternoon.
As we drove down the long driveway we were greeted by Jean-Marc and their dog Smokey, who we recognized from the photos in Kristin’s blog. We then walked into the garden and were introduced to the other guests that were also invited to the wine tasting. It was surreal, being here in Provence, meeting Kristin for the first time and seeing Jean-Marc again at their home and vineyard.
One of the guests was Charlotte, an amazing lady of 92 years, accompanied by her son, Richard. Charlotte, born and raised in France, had a family home there but moved to the States in 1946. Many years later, Richard moved to France. As Charlotte grew older, they decided that it would be best if she moved back to France to live with Richard in their family home, which they still owned. They both had some fascinating stories about their interesting lives that they shared with us throughout the day.
A short while later, Phillipe, Meredith and their two daughters, Nina 12 years old and Emma 14 years old arrived. Meredith is originally from the USA and writes a beautiful blog about all things Provence. Read her story about this wine tasting event at “May Day Wine Tasting.” Phillipe is French, as are both of their daughters. The girls went off with Kristin’s daughter, Jackie, as the rest of us went into the garden where there was a wooden table and chairs placed under a beautiful tree in a setting that had wonderful views of the vineyards and Mont Ventoux off in the distance. It created a great ambiance for us to have a taste of the wines that Jean-Marc produced from the grapes of their vineyards.
The sun was shining and the temperature reached 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a casual atmosphere allowing all of us to chat with one another in between the different wines that we were tasting and reviewing, and then choosing our favourites. Jean-Marc invited us into his wine cellar where he produces the wines. He showed us the equipment used and spoke of the process of making wine and answered some of our questions along the way. I found it so interesting and left with a little more knowledge about wine making and a real appreciation for the art.
Kristin invited the women inside to take a quick look around the house, and ended up in the kitchen, where she signed my copy of her book that was just published, “Blossoming in Provence.” She is now working on her next book and has motivated both Meredith and myself to move forward with the idea of publishing our own books in the future.
Charlotte left us with a funny remark as she and Richard were leaving. “Don’t walk too much as you may have difficulty with your joints causing you to move slowly when you get to my age.” I replied, “If walking gets us to 92 and in as good shape as you are, we will be happy with a few stiff joints.”
We had a lovely afternoon of wine tasting and sharing stories with our new friends, as we got to know a little more about each other until our next get together in France. We left with a few bottles of Jean-Marc’s wine in hand.
Just as I finished writing this story, I got a call from my husband, Steve, telling me that he just received an email from Kristin telling us that Charlotte passed away this past Friday. I needed a moment of silence to reflect. We are so saddened by this news. We really were so fortunate to have met Charlotte, even for just an afternoon. People come into our lives and many touch them in a very special way as Charlotte has.
Remember to “Treasure the Moment” – that’s all we have.