|Vineyards near Irouleguy|
|aroma test; puff and sniff|
May 31, Thursday
More pics from this trip here
Wine and Swine
The dullest of mornings was followed by the brightest of days, another enjoyable one in the Basque Country. Took advantage of the dull hours to call to the tourist office on the beach and gather up a few informative leaflets and local maps. Something I advise people to do on their very first day in a new place! Don’t follow my own advice, do I?
After an early lunch, we headed off to the foothills of the Pyrenees and the Cave Co-operative of the Irouleguy wine region. The girls there had a little English and with our little French we hit it off, particularly after a few tastings, and soon had a six pack of the local offerings, most of the reds made from a large proportion (usually 50% or more) of the tannat grape.
By the way, in the evening, we tasted the local Txakoli wine and thoroughly enjoyed this bubbly and very dry drink and could see how it would go well on a tapas night out.
After stocking up in St Etienne de Baigorry, we decided to head further up, to the premises of Pierre Oteiza in Les Aldudes, a free range farmer of the black pigs of the Basque country and a man who has done much to rebuild the population of this once endangered breed.
Here, after a walk around an area where the sows and their litters were sheltering from the sun (what a change from the morning), and after a few tasting in the shop, we bought some black pudding and also a saucisson, with a chorizo type flavour, and ended our visit by sipping a local craft brew in the outdoor seated area.
Then we headed for home. Susie, our Sat-Nav lady, had a surprise for us. One minute we were driving the local roads beyond Sare heading for Hendaye, and then all of a sudden we were on the back roads of Navarre in Spain crawling along beyond a snail like French driver and, even more suddenly, found ourselves flying at over 100k on a Spanish motorway with Francia a few kilometres ahead.
Got it together as countries changed again, without any hint of a border, and then straight ahead was Hendaye. Let us hope Ireland voted yes - couldn’t go back to the old ways, border guards and currency changes and all that.
After an apartment dinner that included olives, Jambon and saucisson, strawberries, two local cheeses and a cake with cherries, we headed up to the beach area for a couple of beers at Serge Blanco’s la Pinto. Lovely place but they didn't seem to have anything other than Heineken so maybe we’ll have to find somewhere else to have a beer and watch Euro 12!