Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Monday 2nd May - Provence!

I left Bordeaux on the late flight to Marseille … great views of the Côte d’Azur as we flew in along the Mediterranean coastline.

I picked up a hire car and drove east into the beautiful hills of Provence towards Brignolles. The sunset lit the distant hills beautifully and the warm air carried the typical aromas of lavender and Provencal herbs.

I arrived late and managed to find a little restaurant where I had a taste of Jonny Depp's 2009 Chateau Miraval 100% Rolle (the local name for Vermentino). It was very good indeed – but expensive – and I can assure you my 2009 Vent de Folie Vermentino beats it hands down.

Up at the crack of dawn again and soon winding down through the hills towards St.Tropez. It was quite cool this morning and I had heard it had been rather cold the last 10 days in comparison to the heat wave in Bordeaux. It was startlingly evident in the vineyard where the new shoots were a third of the size of those in Saint Emilion!

I stopped a stone’s throw before St.Tropez at my destination of Ramatuelle which lies just inside the prestigious vineyard commune of St.Tropez.

The cooperative is very small and friendly and gets overshadowed by the bigger coops and posh Domaines in the area but they have some great rose! I tasted through the vats and once I was happy I loaded the awaiting tanker.

I was taking the wine safely up to the Breban family bottling facility back in Brignolles with whom Tony has been working with for many, many years. On arrival, I met Laurent who was as energetic as ever and as I walked towards the winery, sisters and cousins popped out here and there to say bonjour!

The tanker was unloaded and then I went up and up the stairs until I reached what seemed like rose heaven! The tasting room was jam packed and in every direction I looked there were hundreds of bottles of beautiful salmon pink rose so typical of the region!

We tasted some lovely 2010's in bottle before tasting some 2009 sparkling that the Brebans are famous for. The P.S. tasted great, as did a little 7% alc fizzy Muscat.

A quick tour of the winery and bottling plant and a good ten minutes spent with Laurent admiring his new addition to the bottling line; a top-of-the-range screw-cap machine!

Back to Bordeaux tonight as I need to be in Pomerol first thing tomorrow!


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