A week in France, Wine Tasting! June 2018
Last week we visited one of our French suppliers Jean Curial in a pretty village called St Véran in the Maçonnais region of France. We import their wines direct which are great value and very popular. Phillipe, Jean’s son, took us around his ‘parcelles’ of vines in his 1953 2CV – just fantastic fun, if a little bouncy! We had an interesting lesson on appellations discovering that it is as much to do with geology as it is geography. We visited Pouilly and Fuissé, St Amour-Bellevue, all famous for their Chardonnays.
On we travelled south to the stunning Northern Rhône with regimented vineyards clinging to the steep slopes of the West bank. This is home to the world-famous wines of Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, St Joseph and Hermitage. Every inch of the terraces are planted with Syrah or Viognier grapes beautifully maintained on very precarious hill sides.
The Southern Rhône was just as fascinating with a trip to the iconic village of Châteauneuf du Pape and sampling a range wines made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourdèvre.
We would definitely recommend such a trip to anyone who enjoys wine, it’s uncomplicated and fun! The winemakers are very willing to tell their stories and are proud to pour their wines for you. We did taste some really gorgeous wines including those made by another of our existing suppliers Roger Sabon, they were a real standout!
The unusual weather pattern was a common topic of conversation with all the winemakers that we met; April was unseasonably hot and windy but May and early June has seen very heavy rain & thunderstorms and little bright sunlight. The prevailing southerly wind, the Mistral, has not appeared since the end of April so the humid conditions have sat over the valley for too long and the crops are showing signs of mildew. The winemakers are optimistic that the sun will do its magic and the vines will produce a healthy crop for 2018. Can’t wait to try them!