I left my beautiful flat in St Emilion, and drove 3 ½ hours to Carcassonne, which is home to the famous city Fortress, the Cite’ de Carcassonne, another World Heritage site. Along the way, I passed through many beautiful vineyards and villages, the city of Toulouse and the beautiful countryside of Languedoc. Nelly Paget, an export manager from Foncalieu was waiting for me. Foncalieu is another Cooperative which operates in the Languedoc, Burgundy, Gascony, and Rhone regions of France, helping local growers develop a market for their product. We went to lunch in the famous city fortress where I enjoyed one of their local dishes, Cassoulet, a mixture of local beans, chicken, and sausage. It was great!
After lunch and a brief walk around the fortress, we drove out to Chateau Haut Gleon, located in the Corbieres, where I was to spend the night, and where I met wine maker Isabelle Pangault. Isabelle is part of a new generation of Foncalieu winemakers who are bringing a youthful energy and skill to the portfolio. The Chateau Haut Gleon was purchased several years ago specifically in the Corbieres region by Foncalieu to highlight the great wines made here. The estate and vineyards are situated around 1000 meters in elevation in the small, but famous, Paradise Valley.
Isabelle is responsible for many of the Cooperatives wine production, and reviewed with me most of the wines in her portfolio, of which Kindred Vines Import Co imports many of them into the United States, and Woodberry Wine distributes them throughout Michigan. Some of the new surprises I discovered were an incredible Picpoul de Pinet, which my partners Michael Korn and Michael Cregar have shared a passion for, The Saint Marc Cabernet Reserve and Saint Marc Chardonnay Reserve, as well as a new high end project they have completed, which included L’Apogee, an AOC wine from Saint Chinion which is a Syrah based blend from the famous winemaker/grower, Michel Cazevieille. The Foncalieu portfolio is definitely expanding.
After dinner, we went to the Michelin starred restaurant la Table Saint Crescent in Narbonne, a thirty minute drive from Haut-Gleon, for an incredible dinner, and a memorable drive back home, where getting lost is relatively expected and Nelly didn’t disappoint! The next day Nelly drove me to meet Michel Cazevieille, who lives in Cazadarnes. Michel drove me to the vineyards where he grows the Syrah and Grenache grapes used to make the Chateau Michel Cazevieille Rouge. While Michel speaks no English, my broken French and sign language skills were up to the task and we had a great time driving to the vineyard, where we had a light picnic lunch of bread and cheese. Michel farms 22 hectares of grapes and is passionate about showcasing the best of his region, especially in the expression of his new project, L’Apogee, which Robert Parker just rated 94 points.
The Languedoc region produces 1/3 of all the grapes used in the production of wine in France. With the continuous investments being made there, and the high quality wines being produced, it will continue to be an incredibly important wine growing region, and an important part of the Kindred Vines and Woodberry Wine portfolios.
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