Picture this: An organic vineyard on a Provence hillside, a beautiful family, a successful book and another on the way, a 400 year-old farmhouse to renovate, kind, if quirky, neighbors, your first vintage taking top prize...
Kristin and Jean-Marc Espinasse did picture that - and made it a reality. Kristin left Arizona after college with a dream to be a successful writer living in France. She had her struggles and doubts along the way, both as a writer and as an American woman in France (you can read about this part of her life in her memoir, Words in a French Life, Simon&Schuster, 2006.) Along the way, she picked up a camera and a handsome French husband and went on to create the incredibly popular blog, http://french-word-a-day.com/, where she muses on being an American mom and wife in Provence. She also co-created two beautiful children. Her story is like a real life French Kiss.
Jean-Marc was a wine merchant for many years, bringing French wines to America and holding wine tours in France. His love and passion for wine led him to buy some old vines (a la Kevin Kline, mais non?) and create a vineyard in the South Rhone named Domaine Rouge-Bleu, which just won the Silver Medal at the National French Agricultural Fair. I know little about wine growing, so I've found it fascinating to follow his seedlings' journey from planting to harvest to bottling at his blog, http://www.rouge-bleu.com/. I'll never complain about the price of a good bottle again.
If any of you live in the NYC area, Kristin and Jean-Marc are debuting their wine (and words) on April 16th at Union Square Wines & Spirits, 140 4th Ave, from 6 - 8 PM. You can taste their first wine, "Dentelle," and hear Kristin read from her book and talk about the new book she's writing on their new wine venture. If you live nearby, I promise you'll enjoy the evening - Kristin is talented and absolutely charming and Jean-Marc's got a wonderfully dry French humor.
Mia and I are disappointed we won't be able to be there, not just because they're friends but to taste the wine! We'll have already left on our own dream-come-true, The Global Scavenger Hunt. It's been crazy trying to get everything ready. It's not until you travel that you realize that you're out of socks, your bathing suit is out of date (or my body is,) your new cell doesn't work overseas, and you've forgotten whatever you once knew about the international dateline. And I won't even go into trying to prepare for the countries here, that's another whole blog. Suffice it to say that the combination of being controlling and a perfectionist and going to 10 - 12 countries out of a possible 50, and you don't know WHICH 10 or 12, is a recipe for nervous breakdown (mine and those unfortunate enough to be around me.) One reason I'm taking this trip is to learn more about myself. I'm on Lesson 85 and I haven't even left yet.