A MIDI MOMENT
It was a wonderfully sunny day, one of those winter days that are too good to be true. We had arranged to meet friends for lunch in Bouzigues, at La Côte Bleue, to be precise. The restaurant is on the edge of the étang de Thau, and the dining room looks out on the oyster beds. The lagoon was a bright blue and the water was sparkling in the sunshine It was almost too perfect.
And not only is Bouzigues famous for its oysters, but it is also adjoins the cru of Picpoul de Pinet, so as far as I was concerned, the only possible choice for lunch was a dozen oysters, washed down with Picpoul de Pinet. La Côte Bleue serves its own cuvée of Picpoul from the excellent cooperative of Pinet, and the combination was perfect, the refreshing salty acidity of the wine complimenting the oyster like a squeeze of lemon. All seemed very right with the world.
New Year’s Eve was pretty good too – not a New Year’s Eve party, just three friends for dinner, with a couple of Languedoc highlights. Domaine de Cabrol is the leading estate of the tiny appellation of Cabardès, which is where the Languedoc meets the grape varieties of Bordeaux. However, their Cuvée Vent de l’Est is predominantly Syrah and has the wonderful peppery fruit, that I associate with Syrah. Definitely one of the best Syrah of the Languedoc.
We also had a bottle of 2002 Cuvée Hardiesse from Château de Valflaunès, one of the newer estates of Pic St. Loup, from a young wine grower who has seen the world, working in Oregon and New Zealand. This cuvée is a blend of Grenache Noir, Carignan and Mourvèdre; it was more rugged and less refined than the Vent de l’Est, but none the worse for that.
And we finished the evening with Banyuls, rather than port, with the Roquefort and walnuts – 2006 Cuvée Léon Parcé from Domaine de la Rectorie, with deliciously ripe perfumed liquorice fruit.