Grapevine Archive for Corbières
It’s that time again! March’s Staff Choice comes from our chief executive, Robin McMillan.
This was one of the first wines I purchased after joining The Wine Society in 2012 and has been a firm favourite ever since. A classic blend of carignan and grenache, it has a deep, intense colour, a lovely nose of sweet fruit and a rich, intense and spicy palate.
So often, our preference for a wine is rooted in an experience or occasion well beyond the taste or enjoyment of the wine itself. In 2013, the same year this wine won a Gold medal at the International Wine Challenge awards, I along with buyer Marcel Orford-Williams and members of the Executive Team, was fortunate enough to visit the producer, Pierre Bories of Château Ollieux Romanis, who has been making this wine for The Society since the 2007 vintage. And what a revelation it was: the warmth and intensity of the wine clearly emanates from the passion and skill of Pierre – this is such a dependable wine that will never disappoint, whatever the occasion.
£7.25 – Bottle
£87.00 – Case of 12
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Helping suppliers pour wines at Wine Society tastings is not only good fun but it’s a great way to hear about their wines first-hand and to learn from the often searching questions put to them by members.
As those of you who have attended grower tastings will know, there are some real characters among our producers, many of whom tell a great story as well as make a good wine or two.Pierre Bories of Château Ollieux Romanis who makes our Society Corbières, is just such a character. He regaled members and staff alike with stories about his wines and his property at tastings earlier this year. We have recently added Pierre’s delicious 2010 Corbières Rosé to the List, so I thought I would share the story of how, each year, Pierre and his friends ‘crash test’ the new vintage.
First of all Pierre was keen to impress upon me the importance of the colour of his rosé. Tilting the glass against the white table cloth he commanded me to ‘take a look at the colour…it’s not at all orange, it’s blue!’ I confess I couldn’t honestly say that I would call the colour blue, but it was indeed a beautifully delicate colour; the palest of pellucid pinks; more purply than peachy pink, so I think I know what he means. ‘This is vital’, Pierre went on, ‘it shows that there is no oxidation. Once oxidation occurs you start to lose fruit. You must avoid this at all costs’
Then Pierre went on to tell me about his rosé crash test. ‘Every year, usually in April at the beginning of the first warm days, we invite five families to our house for a day of eating and drinking, with the odd game to keep the children amused. The day starts around 11am with some aperitifs and nibbles, then we have a picnic lunch and a barbecue in the evening. Throughout the day we drink nothing but our new Corbières rosé. Our friends and their children all bring mattresses and crash on the floor. We usually get through several cases of rosé and the next morning we all get up and go about our usual business without feeling jaded or having sore heads. This is the test of how pure the wine is. Some of my friends are keen cyclists and have even been known to go off and compete the next day…and no, they didn’t crash!’
Perhaps I misunderstood and Pierre meant crache not crash, but somehow I don’t think so. It’s good to hear tales from growers who clearly enjoy drinking their own wines and whose zest for life is so infectious. Let’s celebrate with a glass of blue-tinged rosé and drink to headache-free mornings after!