This is part of the continued coverage of Toques et Clochers, the Sieur d’Arques auction in Limoux that raises funds to rennovate local churches each year. Thanks to Sud de France Export for inviting me to the event and even getting me a seat at the super exclusive gala dinner. Video at the bottom of the page!
The even lasts a few days. On Saturday, the town whose churchtower is being redone becomes an open air festival. This year, sleepy mountain town Couiza welcomed some 50,000+ visitors through the winding village roads to enjoy several thousand liters of Chardonnay. It’s really surreal to see these little villages roped off (traffic is rerouted to go around the village and you can only access it by buses from other neighboring towns) and flooded by sooo many festive spirits.
It’s the kind of event that defies logic. And the fact that it’s organized in a different village each year means they have to redo all the logistics from scratch. Nothing is the same year to year. A very impressive event on a scale that independent producers like me could never accomplish even if united.
But the moment that defines the event is the auction on Sunday where bidders will raise their paddles and buy up limited runs of wine in barrel. There’s a big tasting so that everybody can pick their favorite barrels of wine for the vintage. Then there’s a long auction where 80 lots are sold and people bid on wine. Some are there just to support the event and the rennovation. Others are shrewdly trying to grab the best deals because there are some real pearls that you can uncover in the tasting. So the most devoted tasters who spend all morning researching will have an opportunity to buy barrels that the casual visitors didn’t discover. The average barrel price was 4,500 Euro or so this year. The highest bid was about 6,400 Euro, as I recall.
And then we celebrate with a massive dinner. As the French are wont to do.
This video is a presentation of the dishes, the wine pairings, and a musical accompaniment for each course. Nice. In English and French since this is a very International crowd. Only a few hundred people get to attend the gala and it’s a pleasure to bring you behind closed doors to see all the yummy treats and wines and dancing clowns(?!) that bring this event to a close so delightfully.
Jean Héritier, directeur de la Chambre d’Agriculture de l’Aude, revient sur le programme pour parler de deux vins qui sont symboliques de l’innovation et la revigorification du département de l’Aude et du Languedoc en général. Et nous finissons l’épisode avec une devinette! Ecrivez moi un mail ou mettez vos reponses dans les commentaires du blog.
Nous dégustons un Gewürztraminer, cépage expérimental pour la région et normalement planté seulement en Alsace ou en Allemagne. C’est une merveille. Un vin explosif dont je suis heureux d”avoir la chance de déguster en période d’expérimentation, avant sa commercialisation.
Et nous dégustons aussi le Toques et Clochers Haute Vallée 2007, un 100% Chardonnay de Sieur d’Arques, un vin qui fait partie de la fameuse célébration annuelle de “Toques et Clochers”.
N’oubliez pas de laisser un commentaire pour deviner quel cépage nous dégustons à la fin de l’épisode sur le vin mystère de mon Domaine O’Vineyards.
I make wine on the outskirts of a tiny French village named Villemoustaussou. This town name is enough to make even French heads spin. In episode 10, I visit Wenny Tari at the only other independent winery that I know of in town, Chateau Brau (pronounced like: “hey, bro, what’s up?)
They are organic growers and have been for a really long time, so it’s not just part of a fad. They have 14 different varietals on just 40 hectares and they make 18 different wines. Very interesting look at how small wineries can scale their business up without losing quality.
Oh and that bubbling sound you can hear throughout the video is a malolactic fermentation, I think.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy! We taste a barrel-fermented Chardonnay and a totally unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon and they’re both interesting.
Chardonnay 2008, Domaine de Brau, Vin de Pays d’Oc
PURE Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Domaine de Brau, Vin de Pays d’Oc