Thursday, 11 February 2010

Back To The Midi

I hopped in the car late afternoon yesterday and set on my way towards ‘La Clape’ near Narbonne to meet Tony and co at Gerard Bertrand’s Chateau l'Hospitalet. The beauty of knowing the Midi so well is I timed my arrival bang on time for the aperitif before dinner!

Up early this morning and the extremity of the weather in this incredible region certainly didn't disappoint! We had 70 mile-an-hour winds, then snow, -3ºC temperatures and then suddenly sunshine and clear skies!

Luckily our friend and photographer Yves Gellie was on hand to get very cold but fantastic shots of Becca, Tony and I in the snow! Check out Yves website of some of his simply stunning photography .

We are spending the day here at the chateau though to do a photo shoot for our brochures and customer mailings. People seem to be amazed that I have clothes other than dirty jeans and my Aussie Blundstone boots! However the novelty and glamour of my first photo shoot soon wore off as they made me stand still (quite difficult to do for me!), sit on cold steel stairs (for ages) and then outside in just my just shirt! I think I'll stick to winemaking!

Everybody arrived for lunch and a big tasting and of course, more photos. There was a huge spread of real Midi food including roast lamb, hams, wild boar saucisson, numerous types of pâté and it was great to catch up with everyone

After a long day we were invited to dinner with Gerard Bertrand at his restaurant. Before dinner Gerard gave us a tour around the Château – I now realise why it is the third most visited place in the department as it’s not just a winery. There is plenty to see from the restaurant, the most incredible fossil collection, art galleries and of course, the amazing barrel cellars and tasting.

The evening meal and wines were fantastic throughout. We started with fois gras melting on ravioli matched with three Chardonnays; l’Hospitalet, Cigalus (family home), and an AOC Limoux. Main course was a rack of lamb served with a 2001 Minervois and a 2001 La Clape – both tasting great and rather Bordeaux-ish in fact! The meal was finished with a chocolate fondant and a Banyuls Vin Doux Naturel. Tomorrow I have to drive back to Bordeaux.


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