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Celebrating the end of the 2013 harvest

Last Saturday, we headed down to the Roussillon for an end of harvest party, organised by fellow MW, Justin Howard-Sneyd of Domaine of the Bee.

It was a very relaxed affair with mainly Roussillon winemakers, tired after a long, drawn out harvest and with stained red hands from pumping over and punching down their wines. Everyone brought a bottle or two to share and we tasted some fabulous wines as we chatted and watched the magret de canard spitting on the open fire. The terroir in the Agly valley is very special and it is grenache that is the king pin variety here, producing intense, minerally, complex wines from cripplingly low yields (12 hl/ha at DOTB). The wines included those from Clos del Rey, Clos des Fées (in magnum), Domaine Jones, Domaine de Treloar, Les Clos Perdus, Domaine de la Pertuisane, Château de Combebelle (St Chinian) and, of course, Domaine of the Bee. I slipped a bottle of Domaine Lou Cayla 2012 into the tasting and, yes, if I’m honest, it was rather outclassed in such a stellar line up of wines. Admittedly, most of them are at least twice the price. But it is inspirational to taste such good wines which are so very different from those in our corner of the Languedoc and to compare notes with those that make them.

So many thanks to Justin and Jean-Marc Lafage for their hospitality.

And as a footnote, I was very pleased that I tasted (as opposed to drank) the wines as I was breathalysed on the way home. All clear – phew!