We were fortunate (you have to create your own luck!) to have a magnificent lunch and wine tasting at the wine tour we recently organised in the Languedoc-Roussillon. This district certainly merits becoming much better known among wine lovers: they make great wine and it is spectacularly beautiful. The small group of wine lovers that we showed around the region met some of the best winemakers and had a fabulous lunch (well, more than one actually).
Pézenas is perhaps best known for Molière having settled there for some time in the 17th century with his theatre company. Today this small Languedoc town would merit to be best known for the excellent wines made in the vineyards that surround it. Pézenas is one of the main “metropolises” (big word for a small place) in The New Languedoc, a region where you can find many exciting wine producers today.
On the wine tour to the Languedoc-Roussillon that we had organised earlier in October we had the opportunity to enjoy a delicious lunch in extraordinary autumn weather with wines from three of the best producers in the region.
A few years back Daniel Le Conte des Floris made common cause with Xavier Delmas and opened a small restaurant and wine bar in Pezenas. Daniel has owns vineyard not far away from Pézenas that carries his name (Domaine Le Conte des Floris). He is one of the new generation of winemakers in the Languedoc, who have come from elsewhere and settled in this region because of their passion for wine.
Daniel has previously worked as a wine journalist so he had at least a little bit of wine background. In addition, Xavier Delmas is a professional sommelier so when they decided to open a restaurant it was obvious that it would have a wine focus. (And, says Daniel, it was an excuse to drink all the wines he had amassed in his own cellar.)
The restaurant is also a wine bar and a wine shop. It is located on one of the big boulevards that circle the ancient town centre, dating from the Middle Ages. There is plenty of space on the boulevard for outside seating for guests, and that was where Xavier had set the tables for us: when we visited, in mid-October, weather was perfect, sunshine, clear skies, almost 25C. Could it be better?
The menu was (relatively) uncomplicated but the lunch was long anyway. We started with some local charcuteries, local spicy chorizo sausage and dry-cured ham. This was followed by a broad assortment of cheeses, local as well as more internationally well known, tapenade (crushed olives with herbs), anchovies, and salad with dried tomatoes. To finish we had a fondant au chocolat that, just as the name says, melted in your mouth together with some vanilla ice-cream.
With the food we had the opportunity to taste a selection of outstanding wines. Xavier has selected no less than three of the most interesting producers in the Languedoc to go with the dishes. (Admittedly there are many interesting and exciting producers!) Domaine le Conte des Floris of course, Daniel’s own wines. He puts a lot of emphasis on the different soil types (soil is very complex in the Languedoc). He makes several different cuvées (blends) according to on what soil the vines have grown, best to display the terroir character.
Domaine Fontedicto is a small biodynamic producer, the property of Bernard Bellahsen. He works very traditionally making also very interesting wines. Sometimes one can perhaps get the impression that his (winemaking) philosophy verges on the extreme (for example when he plays music to the wines aging in the cellar, or when making his own flower for the bread) but the quality of the result is impressive.
Domaine Turner-Pageot is also a very small producer. The name comes from the French-Australian couple who runs the winery, where Karen, the Australian half, also manages one of the most famous wineries of the region (Domaine Prieuré de Saint Jean de Bébian). They are also a biodynamic producer – biodynamics is quite common in the Languedoc. They make a surprisingly wide range of wines on a vineyard that is no more than five hectares. All wines are very good; some are quite peculiar, for example a white wine that is vinified as if it were red, in other words fermented and aged for some time with the skins and pips. You can learn more on Domaine Turner-Pageot on BKWine TV where you can find a series of video interviews.
All in all this was a very exciting lunch and wine tasting in beautiful autumn weather on the Languedoc wine tour. A perfect illustration of the pleasures of a wine tour.
Languedoc is without a doubt a region in France where you today find a wealth of talented winemakers and where you can make many exciting wine discoveries. Every time we come here we find some new gems, new talented winemakers, and new delicious wines.
This wine tour also took our guests to some of the other outstanding wine producers of the regions; for example: Clos des Fées, Domaine Oustal Blanc, Domaine Cazes, Domaine St Jacques d’Albas, Domaine Combebelle, Domaine Piquemal…
Are you interested in a wine tour to the Languedoc? Do get in touch. Take a look at our tour schedule to see if we have one planned at the moment. Or get in touch to discuss a custom designed tour according to your own exact preferences and our expert knowledge of the wines and the region.
We can also mention that we have written a book on the wines of the Languedoc. It is unfortunately not currently available in English.