Discovering the bubbly beauty of Clairette wine
Last week I introduced you to an incredible area of France called The Drôme. If you missed it, you can read all about it here. When we were there, we discovered a wonderfully bubbly wine called Clairette that’s produced in the region. I’d never heard of Clairette before we went to The Drôme, and I can’t believe that I was missing out on something that tastes so good and has such a long history! The first mentions of Clairette dates back to Roman times when people were charging around the Drôme in metal breast-plates and speaking Latin. Dress sense and language have changed a lot since then, but the wine has stayed faithfully the same.
Stumbling on a Clairette festival in Die
To my delight, during the weekend we were staying there, there was a full-blown Clairette festival going on in the town of Die (pronounced “Dee” thank goodness, otherwise it’d be a very aggressive name for a town). Isn’t it amazing how you suddenly MUST try or see something otherwise your life just isn’t worth living, even though you had never heard of the thing just one day before? We decided that we absolutely HAD to try some Clairette.
All about Clairette
The festival was strung out along the picturesque main street of Die. At the beginning of the street, you could buy a tasting glass for 3 euros, then use it to taste as much Clairette as you liked from the many, many stands set up along your path. You can see how this could degenerate very quickly if you’re not careful! The producers ranged from small organic vineyards to larger commercial enterprises, and each of them, of course, had more than one type of Clairette to taste. Like champagne and prosecco, the wine can be dry or sweet, depending on the mixture of grapes used. The Clairette de Die is made using about 75% muscat blanc à petits graines grapes and the rest with clairette grapes. there was also many bottles of Crémant de Die on offer…..just incase you were tired of just drinking Clairette. The Crémant de Die is also bubbly, but much drier in taste than the sweeter Clairette.
Once we’d wobbled our way to the end of the tasting line, we spent a little time trying not to knock over pottery at the Pottery Festival that was going on in Die on the same day.
What to do with random pottery made by your children
We were finally able to relax in the shade while the kids busied themselves at a pottery activity that was set up in a side square. The interesting part was trying to figure out how to get all their still soft and wet pottery creations back to the car with us. Luckily a vegetable seller nearby took pity on us when he was the kids’ faces after we’d told them that we’d have to leave all their igloos, baskets and rockets behind. He gave us a wooden box to carry them in, and all was right with the world again. Of course, on the way back, we also bought a few boxes of Clairette, so barely managed to stagger back to the car. If you’re ever in The Drôme in April, make sure you check these festivals out! Get me some more Clairette while you’re there!
By Lisa Watson