What a way for Domaine de la Rencontre to close the 2012 season of salons – Three Wine Men Manchester in the Museum of Science and Industry, followed by Three Wine Men London in Lord’s hallowed Cricket Ground! Julie was a happy bunny in both locations, it made sense talking about how we use light refraction and density measures to check how much potential alcohol we have – or have converted, in the juice before and during wine making. And it was fantastic having the bubble as a backdrop to our table – yes, the girl likes cricket!
Pierre loved meeting the Mancunians and visitors from a little further afield, and revelled in that typical northern friendliness. “Yes, I’m a genuine “froggie » and she’s an English winemaker!” said the man in lime green.. You can see us in photo number 62 on the Three Wine Men Manchester link! The visitors gave us a list of their favourite wine shops to contact, which we shall work on, promise!
Talking of which, there will very shortly be another wine venue to visit in the area. Le Tour de Belfort, Muriel and Andrew, are opening a venue called “Le vin, La table” at 10 Broomfield Lane, Hale. we are sure that you will enjoy visiting them.
Pierre was sorely missed in London as he had to fly back for the Terre de Vins salon in Narbonne. But my sister Jackie and friends Sue and Diane came along to bolster the spirits – or actually, to consume a few! Many thanks to Jackie for having the patience to guard the shop whilst I packed up! Thanks also to the other exhibitors for looking after me/us, especially Muriel and the couple from The Artisan Smokehouse, Tim and Gill Mathews, who supplied the fantastic smoked stilton – and then of course succulent smoked salmon, duck and beef – which so wonderfully set off our Vin Doux Naturels. My mouth is still watering from the mere thought of them!
We must admit to having felt nervous about how the public would take us and our wines One visitor came up and said “Everyone else has a table full of wines and you have four, proudly standing there. There must be a story, come on then, tell me…” Well, we never have a problem talking about our passion. And talk we did, in response to “Oooh, that’s really nice, I would never normally drink muscat, but that’s really good!” I can tell you that we never get tired of hearing that, to the contrary, it spurs us on to continue the revolution. And our labels and names, rencontre, philosophe, l’hédoniste and éclat, seem to please this side of the channel as much as they do in France. We will perhaps put a page to explain “La Rencontre” by Gustave Courbet. It is the centre piece of a Paris exhibition at the Grand Palais called “Bohèmes” at the moment.
But the greatest delight, for us, was listening to Olly or Oz or Tim talking about them. Olly’s quite right, rencontre goes very nicely with some juicy scallops. It was Oz’s description of what Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, “the aristocrat” of the muscat family, was capable of doing, in Sainsbury’s “Encyclopedia of Wine” (1993/1995) that persuaded us to launch our odyssey. It was very gratifying, therefore, to listen to him telling the tasters that our wines captured those telltale muscat aromas with a good balance of acidity and fruit. And we can’t thank Tim enough, for his visit to us on 27 July, that led to us being at these shows in the first place. Sadly, the photos that we have of the days are all blurred – so if there is anyone out there with a photo that isn’t, we will gratefully publish it!
We humbly received many compliments from the visitors, amateur and professional, who encouraged us to keep pushing on with our plans. There are one or two out there who also have a dream of going off and doing what we have done and we hope that we have made them think that dreams can be real. When Tim visited us he said “You make it look like anyone can do this” and anything is possible, if you put your hearts and minds to it. We are very grateful for the words of advice that we received from fellow exhibitors about the UK market and export in general and we hope to keep in contact with several of them.
Our next steps must be to find ourselves UK distributors, and we have every intention of doing the shows with Three Wine Men next year, which is a great window to the public. We will keep you posted! And the invitation to visit the Domaine is always there, for those who fancy a little bit of that southern Mediterranean sunshine and fresh air. Julie’s Spring project is to sort the courtyard out, so that we can do alfresco tastings. Check out our events calendar on Facebook.com/Domaine de la Rencontre, and give us a ring, to make sure that we will be there to receive you! But before that, there is a little matter of a delayed honeymoon to sort out, before we collapse into a heap – oh yes, and the pruning……