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ripening grapes in the Loire

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Exploring the White Quercy in South West France

Amanda Lawrence’s new bookWhite Stone, Black Wine: focuses on part of deepest South West France, and although subtitled ” Life Among the Ancient Vineyards of the Quercy Blanc” it is about so much more than wine, as important as this is. Quercy is the ancient name for an area which includes the departements of Lot (46) and Lot-et-Garonne(47) in the Midi-Pyrenees, with the town of Cahors at is heart. The white limestone of the area gives the landscape and buildings of the area their distinctive style. Much of the countryside is and was covered with various types of oak trees (latin:quercus) and the predominant wine is the deeply coloured (black) wine of Cahors.

The Quercy Blanc – named for its white stone – is a wild and sparsely populated area of rural France, squeezed between the great wine trading port of Bordeaux and the fizzing city of the south, Toulouse. It’s home to the goose and the grape, sumptuous foiegras, the mysterious black truffle and world famous Agen prunes. There are miles of walnut groves and, most important of all, acres of vines. The author introduces us to some colourful local characters, freezes from the kneecaps down whilst braving the famous winter truffle market in Lalbenque, throws herself with Gallic gusto into numerous fetes and uncovers traces of the luminaries who once called this place home. From Champollion, who translated the Rosetta stone, to the illustrious Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Henry Plantagenet brought the area to the English crown.

Ideal winter reading in the UK, conjuring up the warmth and richness of life in South West France.

For more info – White Stone, Black Wine: OR get an Amazon Gift Certificates.

The Truffle Market in Lalbenque (46 Lot, Midi-Pyrenees) takes place every Tuesday from the first Tuesday in December through to mid-March. For more info see www.lalbenque.net

For more on Quercy on FrenchDuck see http://frenchduck.com

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