Sunday, December 03, 2006

A glass in the hand...

Last week the Telegraph and The Times both ran articles on the health benefits of drinking wine from the Gers in France, and Nuoro province in Sardinia. Apparently these wines contain high levels of tannat grapes which are themselves especially rich in procyanidins. These
offer the greatest degree of protection to human blood-vessel cells. Pro-cyanadins suppress production of endothelin-1, a protein that constricts blood vessels.
Happily, the Telegraph wine correspondant gives us a list of wines from the Gers region available in the UK so there is no excuse for Brits not to live happily, healthily and inebriated. Drunkenness is a state that large numbers seek to find on a regular basis. Now they can find it and know they'll live to be 90 in the process...

Having recovered from the blind Bordeaux tastings of last week, I was looking forward to the annual piss-up put on by the Montpellier Agglomeration to promote Agglo wine: the Fête des Vignes. This event has been going on now for three years and I'm proud to be able to tell you I have been to every one. At the first, I discovered the wines of Domaine Henry at St Georges d'Orques. From the dazzling array of choice presented to me that first year, I selected a domaine to taste based on the photo in the publicity pamphlet of M Henry and his wife. It showed them looking at each other and smiling fondly, even lovingly, and this is what cinched it. With such a loving atmosphere, the wine could only be good. And it was.

Yesterday, time was running short by the time we got to the Place de la Comedie and we were not able to spend ages lazily working our way through the tokens presented to us together with the dégustation glass which we bought for 2€.

I did not have a lot of time to go into town to enjoy myself, but we had to go and the prospect of the wine tasting was extremely attractive, so we took the tram, bought our tokens and glasses and headed east. Our first stop was at the Domaine Verchant. I had received excellent reports of this place from NG who had been there for the launch of a beer made of wine, as one of the artists invited to compete to provide the producers with art for the labels. She had brought back a bottle of the rosé which was simply scrumptious. We tried the other reds which, despite being vin de pays, were excellent. When I made this observation, I was told that the vineyard had been taken on by the present owners only recently, and they wanted to experiment with their production which would not be possible if they had the AOC constraints right from the start.

From what they had produced to date, it is obvious they are on the right path to succulent excellence.

Next stop was Domaine Henry to say hello and indulge in a little taster of their totally gorgeous wines. This is the producer of the Renaissance wine I wrote about last year; the Mailhol. M Henry was offering the 2003 with a bottle of the Passerille for a special Fête des Vignes price. This is how the Passerille is described:
Très grand vin rare, il est le premier rouge moelleux français non muté. Elaboré à la manière d’un Sauternes, c’est un vin de folie, à commencer par les rendements, de l’ordre d’un unique verre par souche !
The stuff is very pricey, but we will be in France for Christmas this year, and I decided it would be a terribly good idea to drink de tels merveilles as part of the celebrations.

We did not stay long but we did make excellent use of the time we had available!


  1. Hello Sarah and Helen!

    Have just discovered both of your blogs and am envying your southern location, compared to my damp & cold département of Seine et Marne.

    Am all set to go and read through your archives to find out all about you: so don't get nervous thinking you've got a stalker, it's only me!

  2. Hello Antipo. I've went visiting your blogs last week from some link (samdebretagne??) and was highly amused at the contrast between the kiddy one and the other, naughty one. :)

    Your place does look picturesque. Where is it?

  3. We live in Moret sur Loing, near Fontainebleau, surrounded by the fab Fonty forest.

  4. Wish I had a glass of wine in hand right now!

  5. Antipo: how lovely, and how nice and near to Paris!
    Although we do have fab weather down here...


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