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IT rained a lot in France last week. Sunburn wasn't an option, even for a pale Paddy with a blatant disregard for the dos and don'ts of very hot weather.

Mad dogs and Englishmen could be seen wandering the streets at midday looking for just a glint of that yellow star that keeps us all warm and threatens to melt our ice caps.

It was so cold (well a lot less than 20C I mean) that I actually ended up buying a fleece.

Imagine my horror at having to eat into my wine and foie gras budget for a hoodie.

I can't complain too much, though, as it is quite a nice fleece bought from some all-the-rage chain over there.

The number 64 is on everything this lot make leaving me wondering for a while as to the relevance of the figure.

Turns out that Department 64 is the area of south west of France where this crowd are based and I was spending a week there hoping to turn that shade of red that we call a tan.

They seem to like their numbers there as some of the cool surf crowd had T-shirts with '4 plus 3 = 1' on them.

Qu'est-ce que c'est? I thought. Apparently it's all about the four Basque bits of Spain plus the three ones in south-west France equal one. Get it?!

It's like people here saying '32 or none' I suppose. Umm.

Anyway as well as hoping to turn a paler shade of pink last week I was also up for drinking a glass or two of pinker than usual vino.

Rose is the summer wine after all.

I actually ended drinking a lot of Jurancon, a white made from the gros manseng grape near the city of Pau (pronounced po by the way).

But I'll not bore you with waffle about wine that is almost impossible to buy here.

Nicholson's in Crossgar is the only shop I know that sells Jurancon if you fancy trying it.

Rose, on the other hand, is widely available and has been enjoying somewhat of a revival thanks to hugely influential wine columnists like me.

I've told you about rose before and how its made (red grapes left to macerate with their skins for just a wee while to get a bit of colour) so let's not go into it now.

All I know is that now I'm back in Norn Iron I'm going to let my summer hols really begin with a glass or two of a drink that is more than a match for any barbecue and is now as cool as any fleece from 64.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 26, 2007
Previous Article:Your LIFE: READY FOR A GRAND OLD TIME? FOOD AND DRINK PUB SPY Duke of York, Belfast.

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