I’ve now ticked a vital piece of work off my list of things to do before opening our cheese-and-wine bar: our wine list. And it’s all thanks to last weekend’s salon des vignerons indépendants in Lille.
In short, about 600 independent French winemakers gather in the Lille Grand Palais exhibition space and try to tempt you to try their wares. I think they should rebrand the event Wine Heaven.
This is the third year we’ve been.
The first year, we stumbled across the event on Facebook and pitched up on the day after lunch out with friends. Last year, we took it rather more seriously.
This year was another level altogether. First of all, at least a dozen winemakers contacted us in advance to offer us free tickets to the event and an invitation to come and see them.
Secondly, and more importantly, we were on a mission to find suppliers for our future cheese-and-wine bar. I’d already drafted a wine list, so we were looking for suppliers to slot into the holes.
We spent two days at the event.
Our carte de vins will be split into light, medium and full-bodied red and white wines, plus rosé, dessert and sparkling wines.
We began our search – very logically – with the lighter wines.
We loved Domaine Moreux’s Sancerre last year, so we went and brought the vigneron up to speed on our plans. Oh, and bought a case while we were there.
It was a similar story at Domaine la Meulière, whose Chablis we love. Then we spent a long time talking to the charming owner of the Domain de Château de Pinet and quaffing her Picpoul de Pinet.
For the reds, we were offered a terrific vertical tasting at Domaine Cornu, allowing us to work our way up from their introductory level wines to their best. They’ll be on our list.
As will Domaine Ninot and its Mercurey Premier Cru and the Famille Rouet and its organic Chinon.
We finished our weekend with a stop off at one of our favourite Bergerac houses, the Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure. Their salesman David was as charming as ever and we came away with a couple of bottles of Pécharmant.
We needed several trips back and forth to our flat to get all our wine home. Perhaps we should have done what other people were doing – used the local scout troop.
Now that’s what I call bob-a-job.