October 30th, 2008

Hello All

well – Fall has come to the Vaucluse. We are having what I would call a typical “Seattle” set of days – cool, rainy and a little windy. Feels just like fall anywhere else (rats – I had hoped it would be different somehow…more French or Provencal or something…).

Anyway, here’s what’s new:

Wine – Everything has now been racked and is settling nicely. As I mentioned last time, I think the rose is going to be pretty nice. The Cotes du Rhone red needs a little work – its a little too acidic..but we’ll wait and see in a month or so how it evens out. The cuvee I think will be quite good when its ready in a year or so – has some of the same attriubtes my GRAVES CELLARS syrahs have had; i.e. good balance between fruit and acid, with nice spicy undertones and subtle tannins – not an overpowering wine – and should be very food friendly!

House – with apologies to Peter Mayle and his writings about getting things done in Provence. I have to tell you it IS possible to complete a project without losing your mind. As I mentioned last time we were about to embark on the second bedroom (which had been used by the previous tenants as a storage room). This ‘Before’ picture depicts where it had been……They had added a fake wall (on right in this picture) to make it into more of a walk-in closet. So my job when I returned form Seattle was to open the room up to expose the real walls, etc. That also, however exposed all the plumbing and electrical lines for the kitchen. With concrete construction, the renovated plumbing and electrical has to go on either one side of the wall or the other – not inside it.

And then the plan was to build facade wall all the way around to cover the plumbing and electrial lines and the old window (which opened into the garage) and the old fireplace (filled in 30 years ago). Then put up a smalll closet to surround the water heater that is out of frame to the right, and put in a new window – in the wall on the right – that would open onto the back ‘yard’.

So – a week ago Monday they started – Michel and his assistant. And on Thursday – 4 DAYS LATER – they were DONE!! Walls up, water-heater closet in (with door), new window in, exterior restored to match the rest of the house, trim up, ceiling re-varnished, 2 coats of paint on everything…and they even washed the floor…….WOW.Align Left

And so now I a real guest room, with a view and everything( if you look closely you can see the vineyard through the trees – OK – so its a ‘Peekaboo’ view)…..just waiting for guests to arrive….?

By the way – did I mention that this house has no central heating? Heating here is typically electric ‘radiator’ – – sorta like baseboards – – in most rooms. For this house, there were electric heaters in the office and the first bedroom….and that’s it. When I bought the place they were using these gigantic heat sinks in the kitchen and entry hall along with the fireplace…and that was it. So of course I had the big ugly things removed, with every intention of getting something to replace them….Well, one thing led to another and I didn’t – until yesterday – and now they need to be wired…all 6 of them (one each for the 2 bedrooms, office, kitchen, salon and entryway). So – with the temperature dropping, and the rain falling – for now I am either close to the fireplace or in my room….not much heat anywhere else until the electrician comes…..tomorrow…YEAH.

One nice thing about fall – here, like elsewhere, the leaves all change colors with the season. The vineyard is now a lovely mix of green, gold, yellow, brown, and red (with a spot here and there of purple grapes where we left the green ones hanging at harvest and they have now finally ripened). Really quite stunning.

All for now – my fingers are getting cold.

Be good out there.