HIghlights at the Salon des Vignerons Independants in Paris

This is a great wine fair covering the whole of France, with around a thousand wine growers, all under one roof at the Porte de Versailles, but it is enormous.  There were moments in the two days when my energy levels were definitely flagging, but where else can you revive yourself with a baguette au foie gras??!  And it is a great opportunity to make new discoveries and to catch up with old favourites, and also just check out a few familiar names, with which I was a bit out of date.   Naturally I concentrated on the Languedoc, but did allow myself a deviation or two, to Chablis for Domaine des Maronniers with my friends Bernard and Marie-Claude Légland, and to the Côte d’Or for some lovely Pommard with Anne Parent.  

New discoveries included Domaine Pech Tort in the Pic St. Loup with Nadège Jeanjean.  I asked the obvious question, and no, she is not related to the other bigger Jeanjean company.   Her first vintage was 2008.  There was also a new, to me, Faugères estate, Domaine des Pres-Lasses.   The owners are from Alsace and their first vintage was 1999.  Their vines are in the village of Autignac.  The cheerful vigneron at Château Pepusque in the Minervois described himself as un jeune vieux; his first vintage was 2005 and he was a chartered accountant in a former life.  ...And Domaine de la Rencontre is a Muscat de Mireval, created by an Anglo-French couple, Julie and Pierre Viudes, who met in Mexico.  Their first vintage was 2010 and they introduced me to the delights of sweet Muscat with Bleu d’Ambert cheese.   And thanks to a mention in the Revue du Vin de France I stopped at Domaine la Yole.   I am not usually very enthusiastic about Chardonnay from  the Languedoc, but how wonderful to have my prejudices firmly overturned.

And there were some delicious vins doux naturels.  Two sisters at Mas Karolina make irresistible Maury, as well as serious Côtes du Roussillon Villages; and Domaine de Fontanel in Tautavel had a wonderful Rivesaltes Ambré, which was everything that good Rivesaltes should be. 

And amongst the ‘old favourites’ I would highlight Château de l’Engarran, for St. Georges d’Orques and delicious late harvest Grenache; Château Perdiguier for elegantly understated  Bordeaux blends; Domaine de Nouvelles for sturdy Fitou.  I always enjoy the elegant Palette from Château Henri Bonnaud.  Sylvie Guiraudon at Clos de l’Anhel in Lagrasse produces an elegant range of Corbières, refreshingly without a trace of oak;  Philippe Modat’s new vintages at Domaine de Modat in Roussillon lived up to expectations.  And I can never resist the vins doux from Domaine des Chênes, and I left the fair with the lingering taste in my mouth of  Cap de Creus Rancio Sec from Domaine la Tour Vieille in Collioure. 

Some more detailed posts will follow.......


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