19 years ago, Mike and Sue Spring gave up their jobs in IT and headhunting respectively and, after a quick course in viticulture and wine making at Plumpton College, they embarked on new careers as proprietors of Domaine de Garinet in Cahors.
Their 2.5 hectare vineyard, planted almost exclusively with Malbec (they produce tiny quantities of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc) may be one of the region's smaller properties but the quality they produce ensures a steady stream of customers at the door. With 95% of their wine sold in this way, they took a certain amount of persuading to allow us to return to the UK with modest amounts of stock and an understanding that more might be available.
What really impressed is not just the quality, the expression of terroir and their passion for their wines and region but also their insistence not to release anything until it is ready for drinking; hence we shall be showing stunning offerings from 2005, 2004 and 2003 at next Wednesday's tasting. Prices are very reasonable and I am optimistic that this visit alone may justify the hours we have spent driving over the past few days.