A Tale of Two Vineyards

Articles, Blog article

A bottle of Three Feathers Estate Pinot Noir perched on a vineyard wall with the town Saint-Emilion in the background, Bordeaux region, Gironde, France.

The adventure started with a neighborly “getting to know you” over coffee in our Normand vacation home, English Channel in the distance.  A dear girlfriend wished to introduce me to two childhood friends of hers, sisters, living in Normandy and vacationing in Bordeaux: “They make wine and so do you, so it should be fun to meetup!” she said, and without further ado, we did.  In our small home in the Shire (as we have nicknamed our seaside village next to Cherbourg), two worlds connected in coincidental ways; American and French, Bordeaux and Burgundy….  We met Agnès and Cécile Corre, sisters and partners in the family-owned domain of Château Pavie-Macquin in Saint-Emilion and they brought over an extraordinary bottle of their 2006 Château Pavie-Macquin 1er Grand Cru Classé as a hostess gift for dinner.  Mutual plans were laid to sally forth and explore unknown lands with this bunch of merry women. In the summer of 2017, Agnès traveled to Oregon with her children to visit family in Eugene and made a long detour to Three Feathers on Chehalem Mountains.  Agnès was impressed with our endeavors at Three Feathers, called them “pioneering”, and said our story was reminiscent of her grandparent’s … Read More

Hermione, Freedom’s Frigate, Redefining Past and Future

Articles, Blog article

Replica of French frigate l'Hermione docked in the Port of Cherbourg, Normandy, France during the Normandy Liberty tour May 2019.

Hermione, Freedom’s Frigate, Redefining Past and Future In 1778, the Corderie Royale in Rochefort, France, undertook the 11-month construction of a 26 cannon light frigate measuring 210 feet from stern to bow. Part of a group of four (along with the Concorde, the Courageuse and the Fée), the Hermione was built according to plans by Chevillard Aîné and commanded by major general La Fayette who boarded the ship on March 21, 1780 to meet General Washington in Boston and give help to American insurgents. In 1997, the Hermione-La Fayette Association undertook the daunting project of a 17-year construction of a replica of the 18th century Concorde class frigate, Hermione, at the restored arsenal the Corderie Royale in Rochefort, France. American born and raised, married to a Frenchman passionate about frigates and naval engineering, the Hermione reconstruction project and ambitious plan to retrace the steps of General La Fayette by sailing to America was of great interest to us. My husband and I planned a trip to Rochefort in 2009 to visit the construction site. We were amazed by this courageous endeavor to rebuild a warship that existed more than 200 years previously in it’s identical form and structure. While my … Read More

A Woodworker’s Dream

Architecture, Articles, Blog article

Benoit Lechevallier starting the Ruston & Hornsby motor of Saint Gabriel Flour Mill.  Restoration of the Saint-Gabriel Flour Mill, Saint-Gabriel-Brecy, France.

A Woodworker’s Dream | Visiting the Saint Gabriel Flour Mill Contemplating current trends in gluten-free bread, flour-less cakes and slow food, it was thought provoking to step back to post-war France and learn about technology and engineering during the industrial revolution.   This opportunity arose during a weekend visit to the town of Saint Gabriel de Brécy, Normandy. The Saint Gabriel Flour Mill, now inscribed into the Industrial Patrimony of the Calvados region, is a magnificent example of a once-working flour mill that is being carefully restored by its owners.  Closed permanently in 1975, the mill was purchased in 2012 by Isabelle Laïlle and Benoît Lechevallier (carpenter/cabinet maker).  Isabelle and Benoît have rallied local inhabitants, many of whose family members once worked at the mill, to revive the memory of this working environment and an association has been created for this purpose.  The diverse professions of this group have enabled the successful restoration to impeccable working condition of a hydraulic turbine engine fabricated by Ruston & Hornsby (UK), of which only two remain in the world, regulated by a Watt Ball Regulator. It is interesting to read in Flour Milling, A Theoretical and Practical Handbook of Flour Manufacture by Peter Kozmin … Read More