What’s in a name? I run a few long weekend wine tours in Languedoc each year and a few years ago I was searching for a title for one of them. The tour in question is a 4 night, 3 day tour that explores 3 different parts of the region taking people to taste the wines and foods of the region. It also explores some of the historical events such as the Cathar Crusade and we visit some beautiful villages, markets and some historical buildings, lunching each day on local cuisine. It has taken me many years to seek out all these gems and it’s been a journey of a lifetime helped by some of the friendliest people I have ever come across. The pace of life is slow and people have the time to stand and chat or watch the world go by. One wine maker I visit always greets me with ‘welcome to paradise’ and I nearly called the tour that but I chose instead ‘The Spirit of Languedoc’.
Every year we run some long weekends of wine and food tasting tours in the Languedoc and last weekend we ran one called ‘The Gourmet Corbières Tour’. Eight people booked their places so the tour was full and I arranged for them to stay at a super B&B ran by a wonderful cook called Elisabeth in the village of Lagrasse. They arrived on Thursday night, all Brits and only 4 of them already knew each other but the group gelled beautifully and I think they will remain great friends. The tour began on Friday and was run by Carlos, one of the newest members to the Vin en Vacances team and a great asset. His talented language skills, his knowledge of the region, wines and history plus his ability to create a great rapport with everyone made the day a superb success. The group visited 2 fabulous vineyards in the Boutenac area of the Corbières and were welcomed in to the garden of a private house, owned by friends of Vin en Vacances, for a delicious lunch.
People who know me and my taste in wine know that I am not a big fan of co-operative wineries, although I respect their reasons for existing and accept they are currently part of the Languedoc wine scene. My preference is for small to medium sized producers who deeply respect the terroir they farm and make wines with great care and passion. OK you have to pay more for this type of wine but that’s just part of accepting a quality product. Wine consumption has changed enormously over the last 25 years and for many consumers, wine has entered their lives as a beverage and for others it has remained or has become a deeply interesting subject as well as a liquid to taste, discuss, compare and in some cases fall in love with..! I fall into the latter category and so it was a great surprise to my friends when I suggested a trip into the Corbières to visit a co-operative winery.