Those readers who have been following the group closely probably notice that there are some changes in the roster. The new additions are Vella Frontera (Roussillon) and Domaine Sainte Rose (Cotes de Thongue).
Just a quick update on the Languedoc Outsiders event we held in London. It went very well. I’m fond of this group. We filled the Maison du Languedoc Roussillon with some very interesting people who were really engaged and enjoying the discovery of some beautiful Languedoc wines.
Here’s a video montage of a few people who finished their tasting near my table and allowed me to ambush them for the blog. Some constructive criticism and a lot of praise!
As they mention in the video, the tasting’s success was largely due to the very good mix of winemakers and the organizational efforts of Languedoc powerhouse Louise Hurren.
I think the central unifying theme of all being weirdos worked out very well. Sometimes, when I go to themed tastings, I feel like everybody has the same type of wine or everybody has the same type of discourse, and that gets boring. With this group, I got along with everybody but genuinely disagreed with a lot of the winemakers on some pretty important issues. And that’s a GOOD thing! It means you can walk around and taste with every winemaker without being bored to tears by yet another simplistic presentation that sounds like the guy you were just talking to.
Here’s some live footage of the room. Again, not the most exciting live stream, but it gives you the chance to hear the buzz of the crowd in the beautiful Maison du Languedoc Roussillon provided by Sud de France.
I’m starting to see some of the press coverage of this year’s Ambassador Tour, a classy series of Languedoc wine tastings held in the US each year. The first article I’ve seen, despite its positive outlook on the tasting and Languedoc’s future, made me pause with a claim that AOC Languedoc is specifically bucking the trend to market toward twenty-somethings. The article goes on to claim that the classification is favoring 30- to 45-year-olds, “the youngest demographic group of wine drinkers identified for the controlled origin wines”
This part leaves me a little perplexed. I’m glad we’re targeting 30 somethings which is already a young demographic compared to wine consumption statistics from the 90’s. But why stop there? And why purposefully spread a message that sort of sounds like “our wine is not really meant for people who are just starting”?
Remember when Jay Z got ridiculously mad that Cristal’s producers didn’t fully embrace the rap community‘s affinity for their Champagne? Comments to the press were taken a bit out of context, and customers got very upset. The director of the company that produces Cristal hadn’t said anything explicitly negative, and he still caused a commotion. I think the above article voices a potentially much more direct and damaging point of view that millenials aren’t worth our time.
So let me take the counterpoint: Millenials are totally worth it. Their heads generally haven’t been filled with a priori biases.
I regularly meet people my age who want to drink wine that you can’t find at the supermarket. And I want to insist that any PR folks who read this blog (preaching to the choir?), be careful about spreading this kind of copy. It sort of sounds like we’re wine snobs who don’t serve young adults until they’ve matured a bit.
And I don’t mean to pick on this article too much. It’s very nice and I’m glad it puts the new AOC Languedoc initiatives in a positive light! But I think very young peope who drink wine can sometimes feel intimidated and unwelcomed. And this sort of business philosophy appearing in trade publications like “The Tasting Panel” can sometimes reinforce these unspoken age norms.
Am I over-reacting? Am I doing more harm than good by putting this small trade magazine article in the light of day? Or do you agree with me on some level? Let me know! I am very proud to have readers of all ages. Some too young to drink. Some who don’t let it stop them. ;D And some who can proudly claim they’ve been drinking since before I was born. So let me know if you think the wine business is age-ist. Or if I’m reading a little too much into this stuff.
I got to meet Virgile Joly at his eponymous Domaine and it was a lot of fun. He is of course the titular winemaker in Virgile’s Vineyard by Patrick Moon. But more than that, he’s a dude who cares about the wine he’s making. We taste three reds in this episode and I refer to the whites a little (that episode will be uploaded soon).
What’s remarkable to me is that the Cuvées actually mean something here. A lot of the time you see a winemaker has his Cuvée Expensive and a Cuvée Affordable and there’s no real relationship between the red and white in the Cuvée Affordable (other than price). Here, I feel like the red Saturne and white Saturne had more in common than the red Virgile and red Saturne. That is a lot of fun to see.
On another note, I unintentionally created a themed week where we visited three different organic vineyards. Pretty wild coincidence since the numbers were just released that the Languedoc Roussillon is now France’s number one spot for organically grown wine grapes! All the articles I’m reading on the subject are in French, but I’m sure the news will leak into the Anglophone world soon. If it doesn’t, I’ll translate it.
But this is all sort of tangential. Virgile Joly produces good wine and it happens to be organic. He explains in this episode that he’s been growing and thinking organic for a long time. And adopting the certification is just sort of a necessary step he had to take when all these ridiculously unwholesome winemakers started calling themselves organic growers.
What’s important is his dedication to the idea of making good, expressive wines.
PS – there was a technical snafu at the end, but we overcome. …And then we were invaded by Virgile’s adorable children who are coincidentally named after famous conquering Emperors.