So there you are, in the Vaucluse, out for a little Sunday ride, wondering what all this fuss is about Mont Ventoux when you pass some stunning lavender fields and pause to take a photo. As you stand there, clicking away, surrounded by aromas of lavender and wild thyme, you suddenly feel the sensation of being watched from the far distance and, looking up, you find yourself mouthing the words “Holy *#@@ing #*@+.”
What has this got to do with wine I hear you ask. Frankly, not a great deal but I didn’t take any pictures of vineyards and I did get some snaps of lavender fields and Ventoux so bear with me on this. At the foot of Ventoux in the small town of Bedoin, is the unassuming Cave de Mont Ventoux, a co-operative of some 120 growers which was founded back in 1924. As a rule, we probably would not have paid it much heed but having spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening with a bottle of their excellent Chateau Crillon Ventoux Rose the previous night, Tania and I hotfooted it to Bedoin from our base in St Saturnin les Apt, to see what else they had to offer and were not disappointed.
For me, their roses are their real strength, really gorgeous dry, Provencal roses that are perfect with summer salads and barbecues. Chateau Crillon and Domaine Saint Catherine (slightly fuller and drier) are the stars but their regular Ventoux Cuvee is cracking good value at around £7.50 (still awaiting confirmation of costs.)
The whites are not quite as interesting although the Chardonnay Viognier blend provoked some positive murmerings from Tania. The red tasting, on the other hand, yielded a couple of real stars; Grenache Syrah blends from the lower slopes of Ventoux, labelled Altitude 500 and Altitude 400 and grown, unsurprisingly, at those respective heights above sea level. The 500 I found to have more in terms of weight and structure whilst the 400 had a lively, peppery spiciness.
As and when I receive pricing from the Cave’s export department, some of these may find their way onto our shelves. Watch this space for more news as and when.
Oh, and just for the record, 2 hours later……