Since man has been making wine – and deriving great pleasure from it – he has celebrated the end of the past year, good or bad, by drawing the new wine from the vat. This young wine is like a newborn crying for the first time, which is sometimes a little hard to take, but often heralds wonders for the palate. As Millévin approaches, the great autumnal gathering in Avignon celebrating new wine, I went to Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes to meet the young and friendly team of winemakers from Chantecôtes, to taste their new wine and find out if cooperatives can produce superb wines. It was a Bacchanalian encounter with Sainte Cécile, patron saint of musicians and Saint Vincent, patron saint of winegrowers.
At Château d’Hugues, located between Uchaux and Sérignan, the beautiful red hue of the estate’s wines matches the red velvet theatre curtain and the red paint on the artist’s palette. In addition to growing grape vines, owner, Bernard Pradier, also cultivates a passion for the arts, staging events in a large building on the estate. This summer, he’s preparing a genuine mini-festival: this winegrower-showman has decided to return to the stage, glass in hand, to retrace the history of the vineyard and introduce a range of musicians and poets.
Vacqueyras is a delicious appellation from the Southern Rhône Valley, a region boasting a diverse terroir with superb landscapes and wine-growers who’ve been in the business for generations.The Vignerons de Caractère Cooperative plays a key role in the wine industry, in this quiet, little part of the country, and fully intends to keep it that way. Since it was created in 1957, it has witnessed constant innovation and successfully anticipated important trends in wine-making.Nearly 100 cooperative members contribute grapes from their vineyards – a great source of pride to them – and the winery doesn’t disappoint; every year, its magnificent vats produce no fewer than thirty fine wines. After a short trip to this immense battleship of a winery, it’s lunch at L’Éloge, the winery’s unusual restaurant.
Try a nice wine – it’s so good. Make it yourself and take your bottle away with you – now that’s magic! Come to Maison Lavau, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, where I create my own wine, for a very enjoyable workshop.
« Millévin » A festive celebration throughout the Côtes du Rhône to explore the primeur wines and other Cotes du Rhone vintages
Hear ye, hear ye, the wine growers are coming to Avignon on the third Thursday of November! Adorned in their finery, carrying their coloured banners, the numerous Rhône valley wine confraternities assemble in Millevin every year to celebrate their en primeur wines, Bacchus and wine, in general – in moderation, of course.