A sad tale of malice and envy in the LanguedocBy
Marcel Orford-Williams reports on a tragic case of Midi sabotage
The victim is a Wine Society supplier called Katie Jones. Despite originally coming from Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, Katie could hardly be called an outsider having worked for years as export director for the influential Mont Tauch co-operative in Tuchan, one of the villages that make up the Fitou Appellation. And she even married a local.
Katie’s ambition was to make and sell her own wine and bought a few choice parcels of vineyard, some in Tuchan itself but some a little distance away and over a hill or two in Maury. This meant that she had vines in neighbouring Departements, something which was by itself already complicated. From a purely administrative point of view, she should have had two cellars, one in Tuchan for her reds and one in Maury. To make things worse, her first efforts were immediately noticed, especially the white grenache gris from old vines on the slopes above Maury. Her wines began to sell easily at a time when many of her colleagues, less troubled by the exigencies of customer demands, were finding it increasingly hard to sell their bland wines.
And then Katie began to win medals. Both the International Wine Challenge and Decanter heaped praise on her wines and I remember being at the Decanter dinner last year when she received her award. I visited her tiny cellar in the rue du Vatican in January and tasted the range. The 2012 grenache gris was gorgeous and we duly put our marker on a few cases. We even carried a profile of Katie in March’s edition of SocietyNews.
Imagine my disappointment and anger when I received news last week from Katie that she had ‘lost’ two vats of Domaine Jones Blanc 2012.
Foul play is suspected.
So, no 2012 grenache blanc from Domaine Jones and her growing list of fans, myself included, will have to wait another year for the 2013. There is a little 2011 left which is at its best now. The reds (we stock her grenache and her Fitou) luckily were spared so that is some consolation and of course no one was harmed. But for Katie there is still the feeling of bitterness and sadness and then there is also the knowledge that within her community, there is such malice and envy.
Growing grapevines isn’t easy at the best of times and harder still in a place such as Tuchan with its extremes of climate and terrain. But it would take a lot more than this to prevent Katie from doing what she loves best. We wish her well for the 2013 vintage!