A challenging start
I started off at about eight a.m., driving with my French friend, Isabelle. We left with plenty of time to spare, but with the horrible traffic, it took us a whole hour just to get out of Aix-en-Provence. Along the way, we ran into three detours.
As we were headed up the hill to Banyuls, I told Isabelle "We have to stop and grab a sandwich to go. The bottom is falling out of me, and I have to be on for this appointment."
Isabelle looked at me steadily and said "We're stopping and having a proper lunch. No one in France has ever missed lunch for a business appointment." So we did. We enjoyed yet another stupendous French lunch, and emerged refreshed.
Meeting The Director
We showed up at Banyuls three hours late, and there stood the export director—a women of a certain age in a silk brocade suit. Isabelle marched ahead of me, "Madame, we are sorry we're late, but we had to stop and have lunch."
And this terrifying woman said "I'm so glad you did. Welcome. Please come upstairs." She told us she thought most Americans run about like ants, and now she knew I was one of the smart ones.
Kitty Keller with René Quintane, then Head of Cellar at Banyuls, circa 2001
Favored by top chefs
What happens if you cook some chicken with onions and there's a lovely crust at the bottom of the pot? Deglaze it with Banyuls Vinegar and you've got your exquisite sauce. With its hint of residual sugar and the six years it spends in oak casks, it elevates pretty much anything it touches.
Try Kitty's recipe for Scallops in Banyuls Vinegar Reduction. Easy and exquisite!