The Ventoux, Vineyards and le Vélo
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……
Also in Blog
12 months ago, shortly after the destructive reality of Covid became evident, I wrote a piece for a trade magazine (recently uploaded to our blog here…)
in which I opened with the very real sense of helplessness and fear which I am sure I shared with the vast majority of the planet. At the time, it seemed almost like staring into a black hole, knowing that you had to take the next step but blind to whatever lay below. I remember thinking (and saying to anyone prepared to listen) that this was “our generation’s war,” we’d never experienced anything approaching global conflict and in 2020 we’d reached payback time, only to be faced with an adversary that responded neither to bombs nor white flags (nor bleach). Frightened for ourselves, for our friends and families and frightened for businesses and careers that we’d spent lifetimes developing, all we could do, it seemed, was to keep washing our hands and hope for the best.
Back in spring 2020, Chris was asked to write a piece for the Wine Merchant Mag, a specialist trade publication, about his thoughts during, what was then, an unprecedented national lockdown. Published in May, we present the text to you here-
In northern Spain, some 95km south of Bilbao and bisected almost laterally by the River Ebro lies Spain’s most popular and famous wine region, a region of some 66,000 hectares of vineyards worked by 14,800 growers and dominated by some of the most celebrated names in the wine world.
It started early on a Saturday in June. I’m minded to say that it disturbed my lie-in but it was way earlier than that that my phone first pinged to announce the arrival of a new website order. (I wonder if Jeff Bezos has the same app on his phone?). Ignored it, rolled over and 5 minutes later it went again. And again. And etc, etc. Finally, before switching the thing off, curiosity got the better of me and I opened up the online shop to find a stream of orders for a wine that I fell in love with 2 years ago but that we had failed to make much headway with – Coteaux du Giennois, Terre de Silex from Clement & Florian Berthier,