I am so honored – I’ve been asked to plan a 2-day wine and gastronomy Carcassonne Wine Excursion for 25 American Chevaliers du Tastevin (a group of extremely knowledgeable connoisseurs of wine and gastronomy. More on the Chevaliers below.) They’ll be here in January for two days, as part of a 10-day tour in France. (They’ve traveled to France every year for 22 years!)

We’ve built a sumptuous regional itinerary, including some of the best domaines, educational opportunities, historic sites, and restaurants that Languedoc-Roussillon offers.

Part of our plan – their grand finale in our region will be their Château de Pennautier experience.

View of Chateau Pennautier

Today, my colleague and friend, Emma Perennou, and I visited Château de Pennautier to help prepare for the program’s grand finale.

Sabine Jacobs, who manages the Château’s events and luxury accommodations, escorted Emma and me on a private viewing in the Château, including the rooms in which the Chevaliers will be touring, tasting and dining.

First the Chevaliers will enjoy a private tour of the Château.

King Louis XIII Furniture – he gifted his traveling furniture to the Château after visiting here in 1622

Then, they will have a degustation (tasting) of Pennautier wines in this beautiful Choiseul Room.

During the dègustation, Le Cœur des Hommes des Corbières, a 20-person men’s a cappella group, will sing jaunty songs about Occitane terroir, gastronomy, and viniculture. (We’ll prepare translations for the Chevaliers.) I took this photo of Le Cœur during Carcassonne’s St. Vincent celebration last January (see below for more on St. Vincent.)

And then, in the Château’s beautiful private dining room (where the family dines when they’re here), a three-course dining experience for 30 people, each dish paired with Pennautier wines.

Chateau Pennautier Private Dining Room
Private Dining Room in Chateau Pennautier

(Feel free to read my Sept. 1 post to learn more about the history of this stunning Château, known as The Versailles of the Languedoc. The thing I appreciate about it the most is that direct descendants of the original founder and builder still live here – really, they live here! Very unusual for Châteaux built in France in the 1600s. I see the Count in town quite often.)

Sabine also showed us several of the Château’s 24 luxury bedrooms that are available for accommodation. (Minimum 4 bedrooms per reservation, from 175 euros per room per night.)

The Château also offers beautiful conference rooms and ballrooms for seminars, weddings and other events.

The Chevaliers du Tastevin

Their story is wonderful and I can’t wait to meet them in person.

They have been visiting France every year for the last 22 years, primarily to participate in the January St. Vincent Celebrations in the Burgundy region.

Each year the Chevaliers du Tastevin visit a different wine-producing region prior to their arrival in Burgundy, and this is their first voyage to south central France. They’ll be staying in the lovely Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne, and we hope they return again for another Carcassonne Wine Excursion.

Their sous-commanderie was founded in 1955 and will be celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2020.  They have approximately 150 active members which makes it the 2nd largest and one of the oldest sous-commanderies in the U.S.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent is the patron saint and protector of winemakers – needless to say, a VERY important Saint around here and in any place where wine is king. His feast day is January 22, and many cities in France (including Carcassonne) and elsewhere host fabulous festivals to commemorate St. Vincent, with parades, music, wine tastings (of course!) speeches, the blessing of the vintage in local basilicas, and amazing meals. We’re very grateful to St. Vincent, because thanks to him, we have these wonderful festivals!

We’re honored that the esteemed Chevaliers du Tastevin have included Languedoc-Roussillon in their itinerary this year. And we so appreciate the opportunity to share with them many highlights of our region with hopes that they will return soon!