Tuesday, October 13, 2009
On Sunday, Gilles scratched off an item on his ‘things to do while living in France’ list: participate in a grape harvest. A colleague of his is a friend of a family that grows grapes for the local Jurançon wine. They sell their grapes to a cooperative, which then produces the wine. Jurançon is a white wine largely unknown outside of France. It is available as a sweet or dry wine, depending on the grape variety used. The sweet version is a local favourite often served during l’apéritif. When it comes time to harvest the grapes, the more hands the merrier, so Gilles was certainly welcome to join in.
The experience was more than just helping pick grapes. He was deep in the countryside, and his fellow pickers would often switch to the regional dialect, something rarely heard anymore. It is a language that resembles Spanish more than French. And not surprisingly, most of the day’s conversation revolved around food. At this time of year it is all about wild mushrooms: where to pick them, and needing more rain. The afternoon finished with a snack, and of course some sweet Jurançon wine.