During a very pleasant day at the French Travel Bloggers Summit, I got the chance to discover a real gem … Le Chemin des Vignobles (The way of the vineyards). Accompanied by a dozen of other bloggers, we went down the path of discovery, pleasure and gluttony thanks to this restaurant. So if for you too the recipe for happiness can be summed up in a good meal with good wine, do not miss this address when visiting Ajaccio …
Travel in a bottle
The owner, Nicolas Stromboni is a local and national figure since he was voted best wine shop in France in 2011 by the French Wine magazine. In addition to ensuring wine courses at the University, he is a true Corsican wine and culinary heritage ambassador. To give you an idea of the character, here is how he defines his wine shopper profession:
I’m not here to tell you that this wine is better than this one, or that you are wrong to love that wine. My job is to give pleasure to each one of my customers according to their taste and then, if you agree, we’ll explore together new tracks.
What better way to start for an introduction to oenology? Because yes, we had the insolent chance to enjoy a few hours with him to discover Corsican wines and their History. Suffice to say that you do not need more to get carried away by this enthusiast. You will notice that I do not speak of a “lesson”, in fact it would be such an under-statement! This is not a lesson but you will learn to listen to your senses to finally find out that we actually know more about wine than we think, at our own humble level, even you dear reader! After all, as Nicolas puts it, the very first sense we develop while in the womb of our mother is taste. We just lack the vocabulary and are not used to focus on our feelings. If you doubt it (or if you are looking for a good excuse to open a bottle of white wine, right now) I suggest you do a little game in the next paragraph.
Little mondane guide to excel in high society
Go on and grab two (or more) white wine bottles and a glass … Do not worry I’ll be waiting for you. Just make sure you take white wine, it’s more complicated with red because of the many influencing factors (eg tannins). Are you good? Now go on and pour yourself a well deserved drink! Get the glass to your mouth and close your eyes while enjoying a sip. Focus on one thing: where do you feel the taste in your mouth? At the bottom of the palace? Or is it on a narrow corridor like your incisors? Or rather on the bottom of your tongue and cheeks? Hold those thoughts and feelings, sip from a totally different wine and do the test all over again. There is a significant difference right? Well congratulations you now know how to recognize the type of soil from which the wine comes from (vine is restoring the minerals in the taste of wine). If the wine is rather on the back of the palate, we say it is Granit, light and cheerful. If the wine forms a rather narrow corridor on the entrance of your mouth then we say it is Shale. Finally, we say Clay and round if the wine “spreads” around your mouth in an almost deformed way. You will understand the analogy with the visual appearance of the stones which is a good mnemonic way to remember those terms (the clay is a soft mineral and so rather misshapen, one thinks of a ball of clay, the Granite is a clear stone and Slate is an extremely segmented stone with a chiseled look like, very geometric). So you see, you actually know a thing or two about wine after all! It goes without saying that you should drink with moderation and you shouldn’t drink and drive. And now that you’re a connoisseur, you also know that you should sip and spit the wine while tasting it… I know it hurts … But believe my experience you definitely should do it!
Ok so it’s nice to drink but it is better to do it while eating (and drinking again)! Because yes, while we were tasting no less than 7 different wines, other bloggers were busy in the kitchen with Jean-Jacques Vandael preparing a delicious lunch. On the menu: veal tartare with citron, roast veal with salt and wine vinegar with vegetables and finally the Fiadone, a kind of brucciu cheesecake (pronounced “broutche'”), a typical Corsican cheese. To die for!
We then sat down at the beautiful dressed table making the most out of the moment while learning to get to know each other a little better. It was so fun that we didn’t see time flying and we ended up having to shortene our afternoon cooking class. Although, I managed to write down some of Jean-Jacques’ precious cooking tips and enjoy this beautiful day. If you want to go further, I highly recommend you take a look at Justine and Sabine’s Awwway great blog post about it here (in French). I guess you understand by now that between good wine, great food and fun encounters, Le Chemin des Vignobles is rightfully nicknamed “a shortcut to the pleasure”!
This article was written as part of a partnership with the Ajaccio Tourist Office and Le Chemin des Vignobles during the Travel Bloggers Convention. Nevertheless, any opinion expressed here are our own and has not been subjected to any influence.
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