Posts tagged: clochers

Toques et Clochers Gala with Massimiliano Alajmo – Love That Languedoc Episode 58

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.

couiza parade

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.

toques et clochers auction hallBut 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.

toques et clochers gala clowns

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Carcassonne Hotel de la Cité Wine Tasting – LOVE That Languedoc Ep. 32

I just did an OUTSTANDING tasting in Carcassonne today at the Hotel de la Cité. Restaurant manager and maitre sommelier, Georges Gracia pulled out all the stops and showed me a sampling of some of the bottles they had open at La Barbacane. This is the hotel where the Queen of England stays and Sting and your rich uncle. It’s located in the middle of medieval castle ramparts. Awesome.

When you see a pristinely preserved Vin Doux Naturel that is older than me… that is why restaurants used to charge 3-5 times wholesale price! Because they kept and cellared the wines perfectly and found a way to present them that was interesting.

The wines:
C de Centeilles 2008, Domaine Clos Centeilles, Vin de Pays Côtes du Brian
Clochers Lucien Fanjeau 1991, Limoux (wasn’t an AOC until 1993, domaine hard to determine)
Cuvée 1908 2008, Abbaye de Fontfroide, AOC Corbières (note the vintage is 2008. The name of the wine is 1908)
Domaine du Mas Blanc 1977, Domaine du Mas Blanc, AOC Banyuls

See also:
Patricia Domergue – Owner and winemaker at Domaine Clos Centeilles, sur le Minervois et Minervois La Liviniere.
Jean Michel Parcé – Owner and winemaker at Domaine du Mas Blanc. I can’t find a website for him or his Domaine, but he is pretty open online and you can email Jean Michel Parcé
Abbaye de Frontfroide – This is a historical site and draws a lot of tourists. They just redid the website and the wine produced there is integrated into the main site. However, I don’t see the wine mentioned in the English version of the site. Sorry :-ç

The varietals in C de Centeilles:
Araignan Blanc
Riveirenc Gris
Riveirenc Blanc
Grenache Gris

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