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Languedoc Notebook - August

I am really beginning to enjoy trips to the south of France and think I am getting the right balance between wine tasting, vineyard visits, gastronomy and tourism.

Of course it also helps to cement some really good relationships with clients, who inevitably become friends after a few bottles of wine and travelling in a mini bus. The last trip in June was one of the best. We met some fascinating people, who shared their world of wine making and passion for the 'terroir'. From Christian at La Grange de Phillips, high on the hills behind Bedarieux with a production of 6,000 bottles to Eric at Chateau Chenais in Faugères with a production 60,000 and more. There is also Vincent a Mas Caldemoura  who,  on a very hot morning,  took the time to take our little group to his vineyard by the Pic St Loup before inviting us to have lunch at the Domaine where we tasted some amazing Vintage Cambriolles and Etincelle.

One of my new found friends asked me what the highlight of the trip was and it had  to be the day spent at Meze near L'etang de Thau. We were invited by Roland at the Mas St Laurent to sample his products and visit the Domaine before going to dine on oysters at Mas Gourmand, a pop up restaurant in the hills, with great views over Sete , the Etang , and the Med.

Around 5pm Roland decided to give us a “Brasucade" as an aperitif. This is a speciality of the area when friends decide an impromptu get together. It comprises a few kilos of mussels cooked on a red  hot cast iron tray,  underneath which an ardent fire of dried old vine is lit. The mussels are seasoned with a sauce made of olive oil, fennel thyme, coriander, various herbs, white wine and pastis and are cooked on this rustic griddle then eaten with your fingers. Some country bread and chilled Picpoul are a must. It is one of the most convivial barbecues I ever experienced and after an afternoon spent walking in the vineyards a very pleasant way to recharge the batteries before dinner.

I hope you will be able to join me sometime; our next trip is planned for September just on time for Les Vendanges.

A Bientot. 
Jean-Michel 





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