Learning about wine, vines and vignerons whilst living in the Languedoc

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As you may have noticed from the first post the areas we stayed in around France were wine regions. Not a coincidence.
I became interested in wine when I visited Germany as a young teacher who was asked to accompany a trip to the Rhine valley. A very generous hotel keeper in Bacharach insisted on sharing bottles and the different types of wine produced. This was news to me as I knew nothing about wine and assumed it was either white and light or red and sturdy.
From there to the Australian invasion of Wyndhams and Penfolds and then on to France. I still love the wines of Alsace, Burgundy and Beaujolais as well as the white wines of the Loire. Some terrific holidays and tastings spring readily to mind. Sadly the price of Burgundy and Bordeaux has long since outstripped the bank balance of a teacher.
However, good fortune struck. Alongside a growing liking for heat and the Languedoc was the rise of new, exciting winemakers in the region. Inspired by the writing of Rosemary George, Paul Strang and the admirable Andrew Jefford I began to explore their wines and I am hooked by their quality and sheer drinkability. Winemakers such as Jeff Coutelou, Turner Pageot, Mas Gabriel, Domaines Treloar and Cébene, amongst many others, have set  standards for me which help me to judge the wines of Languedoc-Roussillon.
Happily I now have the opportunity to explore more deeply and to spend more time with some of these winemakers, find out about their work and produce and seek out more top notch wines. This blog will, hopefully, narrate this adventure and share my discoveries. It may not be original but it will be the honest words of a wine amateur seeking to deepen his understanding of that passion.

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A Year in Margon


I have wanted to live in France for as long as I can remember. From ‘learning’ the language in the second year of primary school (aged 8) all things French have intrigued, inspired and irritated me ever since. In the last 20 years or so my wife Pat and I have spent most summer holidays in various regions of France and during that time we have grown to love it. First tentative steps into northern and central France meant that we imagined life in Burgundy or particularly Beaujolais. Then we began to creep further south and seek the warmth of summer sunshine, the Rhone Valley, Provence, Bordeaux. Finally, we arrived in the Languedoc (or more precisely, Languedoc Roussillon). A brief stay near Castelnau de Guers, a further fortnight in Pinet and then to the village of Margon (see photo). In unprecedented fashion we went back to Margon and stayed a whole month, and further holidays there followed. As our friend Tony says we have developed Margonitis and now it will hold us for most of the next year. An ambition fulfilled