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May 1 – Cahors  Yep, the French vacation thing again. The repairman needed to finish installation of the window was out until the next Wednesday, so I left Cahors for 5 days at Plum Ville - time to take up the search for that lay sangha hostel near by. Frederic is in Cuba for a few weeks so I’m flying alone. The property we underbid last year has been cleared, an access drive & mailbox installed. The 2.5 acre Chalet above Lower Hamlet was still available, tho, and another group is attempting to buy bare land along the road near Upper Hamlet. I’m tempted to bid the Chalet but the dollar/euro rate just went in the tank, 1.12 from 1.05 low.

Last Year’s Property

Chalet,  Above

Plum Village, Lower Hamlet

There was an UK Awake (young persons) retreat just ending and a random group of adults moving in. Among them was Miguel Vivanco, a Basque from Vitoria, Spain and industrial engineer with Airbus, the giant French Boeing, in Toulouse. It’s been raining lots and he recognized my beret, which started a friendship that lasted the duration. He’s new to Buddhism and distant from his Basque roots, but helped with Euskara language tips. I tried to impress him the importance of his heritage. Also present were a sweet lady, Quincie, from New Mexico, and a German couple Emmanuel and Pascale – she’s Pascale, he’s Emmanuel, a science teacher who plays a mean piano! Thay’s Buddhist world is broad. It’s cold but everyone is bundled and joyful!

Miguel, Vitoria Basque

Quincie, New Mexico Professor

Pascale  &  Emmanuel, Allemand

The senior monastics all disappeared Friday to visit Thich Nhat Hanh at the hermitage, where he is recovering from his November stroke. Word is, he’s progressing with walking & speech therapies, vocals not yet intelligible, eating solid foods, learning to draw left-handed. His paralysis is mostly Right, otherwise, health reported as normal. The Awake project aimed at youth has been on every continent, a contingent of adults has just left for Japan, other forays on the docket.

Back to Cahors and the mechanic was there but not all the parts - now waiting for mails to bring the rest. Friday, May 1 was another national holiday (there are four such in the month of May alone – is it a wonder things happen slowly over here?) It’s raining and everything is closed, so I packed up and drove down the River Lot to my favorite vignoble, Chateau Eugenie! I tasted their superb 2011 Cuvee Reservee de l’Aieul last year and jumped at the chance to meet them:

Nathalie from Cannes

Le Cave Eugenie

Tasting Room

Nathalie was pouring tastes, bottles & bulk. The Chateau has been in the Couture family for hundreds of years. Grandfather developed the unique Reserve of 90% Malbec, 10% Tannat to award status, and named the establishment after his wife, Eugenie, whose grandsons now run the place. To my buds, the Reserve has the perfect balance of body and character, fruit & tannins.

The Municipal Malbec Lounge, Cahors

1st, 2nd, 3rd Categories of Cahors AOC

Wysteria on Old Limestone & Timber!

The municipal lounge in Cahors carries 200+ different Malbecs, strictly classified into 3 soil categories, constituents and prices. First level is 5-7e per bottle, 2nd is 7-14e, 3rd  is 14-25e. Levels 1 & 2 can have up to 25 or 15% Merlot or Tannat to soften & round. If it comes from that terrain, it stays in that category no matter how good or poor it may be. Eugenie’s Haute cuvee sells for 22e - you’re looking at twice that in America. Now it’s Saturday, the bountiful, fresh market is in town, my latches have not arrived and I’m still stuck here with some of the best wine in the world. Wadda ya gonna do?


Have a good weekend yourself.



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