A moment of travelogue: Yesterday, the plan was for our hosts Harry and Susan to drop off their friend Nicole at the train station in Souillac early in the morning. (Nicole is a professional photographer and photography instructor based in South Africa, check out her stuff, she's pretty amazing.) Then Lucy and I would meet them and we'd go shopping at the Friday market. Instead, SNCF decided to cancel the train stop, so they raced up to Brive-La-Gaillarde to catch the train there. We were to meet them at the big Carrefour in Brive. Well, we were late getting out of the house, and it takes longer for me to drive to Brive than it does for Harry, and by the time we got there, they'd finished their shopping and it was time to turn around and head back to Souillac before the market ran out of everything.
Over coffee, we decided that Susan and Lucy would head back to Souillac, and Harry and The Mule would take in the sights of the wine shops in Brive. We had a very good time; Harry took me to DeNoix, a tiny distillery right downtown. We tasted liqueuers made in the traditional method, using only real herbs and fruits, and best quality cane sugars. Here's a virtual tour of the place. They also sold wine at the front of the store; I left with a bottle of "Eclipse" because I saw Eric LaGuerre's name on it. I also took a bottle of something called "Triple Zero" made by Jacky Blot of Domaine de La Taille Aux Loups. This is a sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Montlouis Sur Loire AOC, with no chaptalization, no liqueuer du tirage, and no liqueuer du expedition. I got aromas and flavors of green apple, toast, and a kind of very, very dry chocolate note. Needless to say, the wine was bone dry.
We also visited La Maison Du Vin, where Jean Dubech-Janoueix presides over an impressive collection of bottles, including many that had a good amount of bottle age. This interested Harry, who has grown weary of waiting for his collection of Bordeaux to achieve maturity. What interested me was a bin filled with bottles of Domaine Gauby "Le Calcinaire" 2006, one of which I greedily grabbed. M. Dubech-Janoueix, as a good wine saleman should, pointed out that he also had bottles of Gauby's fabled "La Muntada" 2002. In a moment of uncharacteristic restraint, I refrained from laying out 70 euros for a bottle, fabled or no.
I did, however, pick up a bottle that was next to it. It was from Domaine d'Aupilhac, which I'd never heard of; it was "Vin de Pays de Mont Baudile" which I'd also never heard of. What made me buy it was the words "Le Carignan" on the label. I reasoned that anyone who was bottling that grape on its own back in 2000 must have known what he was about. The "non-Filtre" part was reassuring, too. Had I made a find? Hah! That is what Google is for, to clue you in on what the rest of the world already knows. (Nothing like finding out that your Mystery Bottle is considered "a Languedoc reference" by Andrew Jefford.) In the event, it was delicious, with a nose of black fruit, tar, and herbs, and a rich palate of sweet red and black fruit and earth, and just enough structure provided by ripe tannins and acidity.