Standing in the middle of a vineyard has rarely conjured the imagination as much as the day I stood amidst the vines deep in the heart of Clos de L’Echo, (Chinon, Loire, France) knowing that the great French humanist, Francois Rabelais (1494-1553) had stood here too. This walled vineyard had once been owned by his family, though probably planted with vines different from the Cabernet Franc that thrives in this little strip of soil today.
Rabelais is best known for his satirical bawdy humour, lampooning all and sundry in his four book series Gargantua and Pantagruel, each book littered with references of and examples to “the scatalogical”. (I’ll leave you to google that term for yourselves and apply your own imagination to it!).
Rabelais had an “eat, drink and be merry” philosophy to life in general which shone through in his writing, and led to strong disfavour with the church. I can understand why, having read Gargantua and Pantagruel, with reviews using descriptors such as the work being “bold, robust, and earthy.”
And so here is my latest metaphor to describe the Clos de L’Echo 2015, tasted in sight of the Chateau at Chinon and amongst the vines of Cabernet Franc…… “This wine is pure Rabelaisienne, yet rich like a Christmas cake, mega fruit though well balanced with still high tannin and low acidity. It still has legs to develop further at least another 2-3 years.”
In the eyes of nearly every great novelist of our time Rabelais is, along with Cervantes, recognised as the founder of an entire art ……the art of the novel.