Not only does Frédéric have a fine line in shirts but he plays guitar and was once a rock star before becoming a caviste with his wife, Marie, before embarking on a vineyard in the Larzac. Frédéric was under the mistaken impression that I played guitar and kindly invited me to join his sometime in the Languedoc. Sadly I had to explain that I had never even played a single note.
Denis and his business partner took over an old 11 hectare domaine at Fontjoncouse in the Corbières in 2007. The previous owner had been a member of the local cooperative, which vinified all the grapes. The propery has a significant proportion of old vines: 100 year old Carignan, 70 year old Maccabeu, Grenache 60 and Alicante Bouchet 50. They also have some relatively young Syrah, which is 20 years old. Domaine Auclair now bottles all the wine and is increasingly finding export markets around the world for their wines. An attractive 100% Maccabeu Domaine Auclair was served with the first course.
Clearly two domaines I should visit next time I'm in the Languedoc.
I also tasted the 2006 Cuvée de Turenne, an old friend – the Abbaye de Valmagne, which I have visited on several ocasions over the years. The 2006 Turenne is nicely balanced with plenty of fruit and good acidity in the finish and makes a change from the over-extracted fruit bombs that some make in the Languedoc, although this practice is not restricted to this region!
It was good to see Philippe d'Allaines, the owner of Valmagne, again and to meet his daughter. The d'Allaines family has owned the abbaye since 1838.