Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Wine Tasting

Today we took Lesley and Steve on a short wine tasting expedition. Steve likes full-bodied red wines and so Richard and I had a great idea - lets go and find some! It's a difficult job but someone's got to do it!

Whilst heading over to Fos to the Domaine Ollier-Taillefer, Richard mentioned that yesterday he met Eric (our neighbour) carrying a case or two of wine from his car - and ever interested in all things alcoholic, asked what he had got in the boxes. Eric explained that he had just been to stock up on one of his favourite local wines from the Domaine du Météore, over towards Cabrerolles. So that was added to our itinerary.

When you look at the map, Fos is roughly equidistant from two routes - one from Bedarieux to Clermont d'Herault, and the other from Faugères to Pezenas. What is not immediately apparent to first timers, is how winding it is once you leave either of these main roads! But we made it by 10:30 and gave Lesley and Steve a quick tour round this lovely, pretty village.

When we presented ourselves at the domaine however we saw that we were 30 minutes too early for opening time. But we are not locals for nothing - having been here so many times before, we knew to ring the door bell. A very nice lady stuck her head out of the window above us and called out that she would be straight down. We had a good time trying their Castel Fossebus - and agreed that the 2005 was more to our taste than the 2003. They also had in some more of the rosé champagne that one of their relatives produces - for the last two years he has stuck to the white, but due to popular demand has again been producing the pink. That was two cases (one champagne and one castel) bought and put into the boot!

Next we headed off to find the Météore. Again you forget how winding and isolated so many of the villages in the Faugères region are. But, with very few signposts, we finally found the domaine - only to read that they are only open in July/August. Other times you have to make an appointment!

But we are persistent if nothing else, and we had an ace up our sleeve. Again, insider knowledge came into its own - we know that the garage on the hill outside Faugères on the Herepian road, has a secret. Once inside the kiosk, you can go through a door just behind the payment desk into a small room stacked with most of the up market wines of the region. And yes - they had some Domaine du Météore! They also had their usual champagne 'Philipponnat' which is very rare to see anywhere else, but which we recommend if you are into bubbles. So once again we had added to the contents of our boot.

By then it was lunch time and we were tired - so off we went home. This evening we have had a bottle of the rosé champagne (not as good as previous years) as an aperitif and taste tested the Castel Fossebus against the Météore Les Orionides. Both these reds are blended from the same four grape varieties (grenache, syrah, mourvèdre and carignan) but the results are quite different. We decided that the Castel was a more rounded wine than the Météore which had an unusual taste. However we all actually preferred drinking the Météore with our main course tonight, paella. It could stand up for itself against such a strongly flavoured dish.

We love it when wine drinkers come to stay!

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