Thanks, and “may I take a photo of that label”?

My mind wondered a bit while listening to Saturday evening’s message on Christ the King Sunday [1]

I began to consider all that I have been given. Family, friends, colleagues and endless blessings. I quickly lost count and returned to the message at hand.

One blessing, one recent journey lies near the top of my list.

Our family often jokes about basketball camp T-shirts given to our daughters years ago. A jovial referee suggested a camp when I coached their Y basketball team. That short lived expedition did indeed result in camp attendance. The t-shirt shouted, in a large font:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

And, so it was in the Spring of 2015 that we planned a journey through Southwest France, namely the Languedoc-Roussillon [2] region with a few days in Carcassonne [3]. The paradox of choice [4] quickly overtook “what to do” planning.

I stepped back and wondered who I might ask for suggestions. Credit must be given to my parents, grandparents, numerous mentors, several teachers and professors who reminded me to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” [5]

I have long enjoyed reading the Financial Times’ weekend “Life and Arts” articles. Jancis Robinson’s wine compositions tingle the mind with tales of history, culture, marketing, food, travel, brands, bureaucracy and entrepreneurs.

Jancis [] it was.

I tapped an email seeking suggestions near Carcassonne. A reply swiftly arrived.

We chose two of her four recommendations.

A gem of a day.

First up, Rives Blanques [6].

A gracious and elegant host, Caryl Panman welcomed us as friends. She immersed us in the wine, “terrior” [7] and recalled a rather frigid March Madison visit that left her precious tasting bottles frozen in a UPS truck.

Rives Blanques

Rives Blanques Panorama

Rives Blanques

Rives Blanques

Rives Blanques

Rives Blanques

Rives Blanques

We departed Rives Blanques with less space in our rental car.

Could the next stop – O’Vineyards [7] – begin to approach our time with Caryl and Jan?

Joe and Liz – “Les AmĂ©ricains” – showed us no small amount of hospitality. It was a joyous visit.

Joe regaled us with tales of an American builder contemplating, then interloping into the French wine business while Liz elegantly addressed our appetites. More and more treats appeared while we sampled the fruits and explanations of their labor.

I smile every time I recall our afternoon with Liz and Joe. A treat!


O'Vineyards Panorama



Our rental car now had space just for the passengers.

Approaching Thanksgiving, 2015 and thinking back to that first Thanksgiving; we, too have much to be thankful for. Our cup overflows.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Before a recent trout dinner, several friends inquired after the wine. One snapped a photo of the label on her iPhone.

It was La Trilogie. [9] Credit must be given to Baptiste Ross Bonneau, The Sommelier [10] who whispered and winked: “Do not depart without several bottles”.

[1] Feast of Christ the King – Wikipedia.

[2] Languedoc-Roussillon – wikipedia

[3] Carcassonne – Wikipedia.

[4] Paradox of Choice – Wikipedia.

[5] Matthew 7:7.

[6] Rives Blanques.

[7] Terrior – Wikipedia.


[9] La Trilogie.

[10] The Sommelier.