In early September, Vin en Vacances was asked to arrange a 60th birthday celebration of some magnitude. The birthday girl had assembled 22 members of family and friends in Carcassonne and wanted to share her special day with wine tasting, sightseeing and enjoying a very special French lunch.

Now 22 people is a significant size group to transport, so we arranged three vehicles to collect our clients from the Hotel Montmorency, close to medieval La Cité in Carcassonne. Once ready, we set off for the hills surrounding the village of Félines-Minervois for a walk through the vines where Wendy gave short talk about the region and the wines to set the scene for the day.

Getting ready for harvest in Felines Minervois

From Félines-Minervois we travelled just a few kilometers to Rieux-Minervois and the winery of Emmanuel de Soos at Château de Rieux. Wendy gave everyone a tour of Emmanuel’s beautiful and traditional winery followed by a tasting of his lovely wines. Then it was time for the picnic arranged by the superb caterers based in the village of Caunes-Minervois called A Taste of Caunes. (http://www.atasteofcaunes.com/)

Linda & Alison of ‘ A Taste of Caunes’

Wendy had bought some lovely goats cheeses the day before whilst touring the Corbières and also some honey from that region and Linda Wearn and Alison Mugford, of A Taste of Caunes had created a delicious birthday cake to make the lunch extra special.

Replete and happy, we took the group up to the gorgeous village of Minerve where a short stroll through one of the prettiest villages in the Minervois sharpened up everyone’s appetite for some more delicious wine!

Heading down from Minerve back towards the Aude plain, we arrived in the Cru of La Livinière, where we sampled the wines of L’Ostal Cazes. The winery, owned by the renowned Bordeaux house of Lynch Bages laid on a splendid tasting, supplemented with charcuterie, bread and the domaine’ s own olive oil.

L’Ostal Cazes Winery

Sated, and in fine spirits, we drove back to Carcassonne through the beautiful Minervois countryside.

Birthday memories that we hope will last a long, long time.