Tuesday, September 7, 2010

La Tulipe (The Tulip) [De Tulp]

When my husband turned 40, one of the presents he got was this book in a deluxe edition: Leven Als Gort in Frankrijk, by Ilja Gort. It could be translated to: living like a god in France. This is an expression the Dutch use a lot, "leven als God in Frankfrijk", meaning to enjoy an excellent life / enjoying life to the maximum with sun, rest and good food.
I firstly ignored the book and put it aside for a while. I had already read several good books of American (Magic Provence by Yvone Lenart), Dutch (Wonen op Vakantie, by Esther Verhoef ) and English (all books from Peter Mayle) authors about their lives in la douce France. So I had had enough of that theme. But this year during our vacation in France I decided to read "Leven... " until the end. My husband and mother-in-law had recommend it and I decided to give it a go.
Ilja Gort is a maestro and a componist, author of many world famous jingles (for Nescafe, Heineken and others). He has made some fortune with his adverstisement tunes and decided to buy a castle in France in order to start making the world's best wine. This while at the same time running his studios in Maartensdijk, Holland. After some frustrations the third castle he visits becomes the one: the XIII century Chateau de la Garde, nearby Saint Emilion, in the Bordeaux region.

I liked the book. Okaaaaay... It IS indeed a huge ad of Gort's talents, luck and wines. But the story behind wine making is delicious. We have a Dutch person who barely speaks French beginning from zero, with no previous experience - though he had read a huge library about wines. Gort and his then wife Turf search for the perfect castle in the Bordeaux area, have lots of difficulties in finding personnel to work in the wineyards, and learn how to interact with the French culture and way of doing things. The Gorts really had a hands on approach. An example: his 6 year old son (now in his twenties and following management studies in London) painted the tulip featured on the label. However, what impresses me the most is Gort's drive. He is a very successful wine farmer, a very successful componist, and a very successful author.

La Tulipe - rose'. I decided to give it a go while enjoying a meal salad - and I just loved it. It is made from Merlot and Cabernet grapes and considered the best French rose' from the Bordeaux region, got high grades from Robert Parker and keeps winning several prizes year after year.
In Holland you can purchase La Tulipe de la Garde at Albert Heijn.
The first images on this post were snagged from: http://www.tulipe.nl/
For a nice youtube video go here.

Update: my husband has celebrated his birthday recently and got from a friend two bottles of La Tulipe and a bonus: Het Merlot Mysterie, by Ilja Gort. I have already started reading it and asked my husband whether I could highlight with a yellow pen some words by page. "Of course you can " - he replied. He is such a discomplicated guy !  Probably he will be reading the book only next year during his next vacations...


Pinay in Dutchland said...

Does it also talk about different kinds of wine? I need to update my wine lessons and this seems to be a good book. And of course, it surely touched on the French scenery, toch?

Anita said...

Bien sur ! ...the production of diferent types of wine, bio wines, wine fairs, wine myths, plagues, "en dat soort dingen".