Wine tasting & canoeing
July 31, 2013

It is not advisable to do those two things back-to-back as a general rule but that occupied our time today. It was another beautiful day here in France (weather winerywise) with the temperature around 27 degrees C and virtually no wind.  After having the (now) usual continental breakfast we headed out late morning for a nearby vineyard and winery. It was only a 10 minute drive from Chateau de Sanse and was recommended to us by them as they get their house wine from them. It was called Chateau Font-Vidal (  It is a family owned and operated winery that is 10 ha and produces 70000 bottles per year.  That is pretty small by Bordeaux standards where farms are around 100 ha.

The daughter (adult daughter) gave us a tour and her English had an English accent to it and we later discovered her significant other was English. She also later spoke English with a French accent for us and asked whether we found that ‘sexier’!  She was very entertaining and also interesting. She started the tour actually in the vineyards and told us how they plant, prune, trim & harvest the vineyards and grapes.  They basically do everything themselves and that means her father, brother & herself.  She also gave us a tour of their cellar but unfortunately I had to step out for about 30 minutes while I had a business telephone conference. From the laughter I could hear she clearly continued to entertain.

We then did some wine-tasting of their wines – a rose and two Bordeaux blends (in fact that is tautologous as all Bordeaux wines are blends). She then got the benefit of the fact that she had 18 people all wanting to take some souvenir from the winery home with them. I think it was well worth her late morning doing the tour for us.

de sanseWe got back to the Chateau just in time to have some lunch before heading out canoeing. Unfortunately everyone had the same thought at the same time and so the kitchen was somewhat swamped and we only got our food at about 2:15pm and we needed to leave by 2:30pm to go canoeing. We had organised to go canoeing again but this time on the Dordogne River (  In typical French fashion they told us to pre-book and so we did and we arrived early for our 3pm booking but they were not organised and didn’t even have the canoes loaded up yet. We eventually left at about 3:35pm and they took us 8 kms upstream and we then paddled back to their base. There were 21 of us canoeing and so we split up into 10 doubles and Daniel (my one nephew) went by himself.

We did do some swapping of partners about a quarter of the way in to ensure everyone enjoyed the trip a little more and made it back the whole way. The river flows quite quickly and you can drift from time to time in quicker flowing water when you need a small break. The young gunwinnerss pulled out ahead of everyone and then later started messing around (including have a few swims in the river) and they eventually brought up the rear at the end. The slower ones (who started out at the back) ended up finishing first by some distance. It was our modern version of the Hare and the Tortoise. Chloe and I pulled in first followed some distance behind us by Megan & Meryl (my cousin and my oldest sister) and then Helen & Megan (my wife and my niece). With the Temples everything is a contest and we put those young guns to shame (again).
(Update from Stephen: I would like to say that after every time we stopped to have a swim we always managed to catch up and pass the old people. The only reason we didn’t do that the last time we stopped was because we found a rope swing by the side of the river and decided that it was time for them to wait for us for a change, while we had some fun. Besides, my dad or one of my uncles would probably have broken the rope anyway.)

The paddle took longer than expected (around 2 hours) and so by the time we got back to the Chateau it was almost dinner time.  A quick change out of the wet clothes (some splashing happened on route) and we were back down for dinner. The usual 3 courses (main course was a choice of pork fillets or sea bream tonight). Tonight the canoe’ers felt that they deserved to eat whatever was brought because we had worked it off in advance of the dinner. After dinner it was some further reminiscing by my aunt & uncle (the oldest members of our group) followed by Melissa (my one niece). They were all good in their own unique way. My aunt had brought some photos of my Dad as a baby and child along with her.  It is amazing how my Dad looked exactly the same as a baby as he does today – no hair!

unoThe evening was closed off by some card games and my Mom (granny) had to play Uno with all the female grandchildren.  She is a bit of a shark at Uno so I have no doubt she would have won. My sister had also organised to make playing cards with a picture of my parents on their wedding day on the back. Only problem is that I don’t think I could bring myself to play strip poker with Helen with those cards ….

Until tomorrow (when it is going to apparently be 35 degrees)

P, C (because she joined my on the winners podium of the canoeing), H (because she came in 3rd), S & M


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