Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Patrick and I each had a long day.

Patrick is the bookseller at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego. He was selling my books in the afternoon when I talked to a group of readers and conducted a wine tasting at the store.

And he arrived with boxes of books to sell at the evening event at Le Bouchon French restaurant just up the road in Escondido. He had to listen to me twice, which must have been trying enough, but neither of us finished up until 8pm.

For him, the day would end with a short drive home. For us it was nearly two hours back to Newport Beach, another 12-hour day under our belts.

But 12 successful hours.

During a quiet moment I asked Patrick how things were going at the store. He said things were good. And when authors came and signed books, even better. During both evening and afternoon sessions I had signed piles of stock, of both "The Critic" and "The Killing Room".

That evening Patrick told me, "Before you left the shop, I had those books up on the internet. They'll all be sold by tomorrow."

He said I had established a good fan base in San Diego, and that the turnout at the shop at 3.30 on a Monday afternoon had been amazing.

Those readers were particularly privileged - not because they had to endure me talking for an hour - but because they got to taste the first Sarrabelle wines ever to be drunk on American soil.

I went through the tasting processes with them, and opened a bottle of Sarrabelle's Saint Andre - a wonderful, smooth red made from 100 percent Braucol grapes, then aged in oak. They loved it. The wine writer from the San Diego newspaper was there, too, and arranged to conduct a phone interview with me later this week for the full low-down on the Sarrabelle vintages. By this time glasses were empty, and there was a clamour for more.

As there was later in the day when members of San Diego's Alliance Francaise packed into Le Bouchon to hear me speak, and then taste both the Saint Andre and the Sarrabelle Syrah - as well as the Gaillac white made from 100 percent Mauzac grapes. Everyone wanted to know where they could buy these wines. And we were able to tell them that they should be available for general sale from February 28th when the first shipment arrives in Weygandt-Metzler's warehouse from France.

And what I found particularly strange, but oddly comforting, was to be standing in the heart of Spanish influenced Southern California talking French to restaurant owner Michel, and Alliance Francaise organiser Anne Laure! The world turns in strange ways.

(Chatting in French to restaurant owner Michel)

It has been a long road since we first stumbled upon Domaine Sarrabelle, tucked away anonymously amongst the rolling hills on the north bank of the River Tarn. A long time since we first stood in a darkened tasting room at the back of the wine shed with Fabien Causse tasting those wonderful wines for the first time.

And it gave me a particular pleasure and satisfaction to see so many people sharing in the pleasure of those same wines, two-and-a-half years and 6000 miles later.

Day nineteen will see us on the road again. To LA this time. A drop-by signing at a Bookstore in Westwood, then on to an evening event organised by the Los Angeles Alliance Francaise. More wine to be drunk, more converts to be made, more books to be sold.

And miles to go before I sleep.


Carol and Chris said...

Sounds like you had a great day Dad - onwards and upwards eh!!

C x

gary said...

Hi diddley dee
It's the writer's life for me!
Drink 'til dawn, sleep 'til 3
Drink some more - the wine is FREE!
Hi diddley dee
It's the writer's life for me!

Cheers Skirt - from Bacon Man