Bite Magazine Interview
Bonjour Jean Michel ça va? I am totally exhausted, as the Ireland /France rugby game just finished and I do not have any fingernails left.
Tell me about your wine tours, they sound like a good idea. I started them about 3 years ago when a group of friends of La Garrigue were so fed up with hearing about the Languedoc that they asked me to take them there. It was a challenge and also an opportunity to spend a few days at home in the sunshine. Also the Languedoc is recognised as one of the most exciting and innovative places for wine at the moment.
What can people expect on your tour? A voyage of discovery; I take people to places they would not automatically find, away from the tourist traps. Being a local chap I can open doors and have inside knowledge for example as to which vineyard owners really care about their wine.
What type of vineyards will I visit? The Languedoc offers such a wide variety of wine makers from the Grand Domaines of Daumas Gassac and La Grange des Pères via La Grange Leon in Berlou to some ‘garage wine makers’ such as Wim at "Le Bouc à Trois Pates” and his ‘Cuvée Perpétuelle’.
What’s that? Wim is an organic producer with five hectares, in about ten plots, mostly around Mons, including a plot of 60 year Carignan just by the old barn, once a goat shed. "Le Bouc à trois Pates” stands for three legged goat
Will I be out of my depth? No, it’s very informal and does not require any sort of wine knowledge. The only criteria is an appreciation of drinking and a good sense of humour; of course people learn about the different methods and grapes but there is no exam at the end just some fond memories.
Tell me about a favourite memory. Every tour is different. I remember a morning at "Les Vendanges” at Clovallon followed by a buffet lunch in the vineyard, a private dinner with wine and music at Mas D’Alezon, a cruise with wine tasting on the Canal du Midi and a magic night in Combret where Bacchus, the god of the wine and gastronomy, once organised a superb Electric Storm for our entertainment
What about the scran? Fine wine is best appreciated when it is paired with good food and company. We lunch or dine in the best local restaurants and also eat with the wine makers, possibly in some obscure cellar where the wine flows faster then the conversation.
Okay sounds good – where will I stay? Near my home town, up in the hills, around Bedarieux; Christian and his Italian wife Seraphine have created a superb if small vineyard while restoring the very old farmhouse so it now offers en-suite facilities, swimming pool, a beautiful wild garden and spectacular views.
Will I get a tan? Whilst I cannot guarantee the weather, you need to be ready for some hot days with plenty of sunshine and bring some suntan lotion especially if you are planning to use the swimming pool.
Anything else? The Languedoc is the largest wine producing area in the world. More wine is produced in the Languedoc than in the whole of the United States and it is being said that the great vintages of the century are being produced in the Languedoc right now. In particular the Herault area has an incredible micro-climate beneficial to wine making and its varied landscape and history make it one the best kept secrets in France.
Happy to share it with you.
Please visit our website at www.languedocwinetours.co.uk for information on tours dates and availability or even better give me a call at La Garrigue on 0131 557 3032, or by e-mail, at email@example.com.