Boulevard Napoléon: Fêtes des Vins, La Lavinière, Minervois
2011 Grenache Gris, VDP de l’Herault, Boulevard Napoléon
The Boulevard Napoléon plaque on the winery’s
street that lends the wine its name
We have just spent a very enjoyable weekend in the Minervois guests of Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver for their fifth annual Fête des Vins at their winery in La Lavinière. Gulliver and Henderson run St John, the well known London restaurant group, which includes their flagship restaurant – St John in Clerkenwell. They are famous for their robust cooking with an accent on offal and pigs’ extremities.
Gulliver has had a house by the Canal du Midi in Homps for 16 years and he and Fergus started their wine venture in 2011 buying grapes from the local co-operative. Last year they bought some parcels of vines way up in the Minervois hills that can only be reached by rough tracks.
The white Boulevard Napoléon is made from Grenache Gris, while the three reds are single varietal – Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache. These juicy attractive wines are very much ones to enjoy rather than analyse.
Benji – the winemaker
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A75: Aire de Lozère – worth a detour to avoid
Driving back from the Minervois today we made the grievous mistake of stopping for a quick casse croute at the Aire de Lozère. Although the scenery is lovely the food offer is sadly dreary – a tiny selection of unambitious sandwiches, a sad attempt at a croque monsieur plus a few other bits and pieces that will only appeal in desperation. There is a also a shop called Lozère Authentique – a claim that is somewhat undermined by stocking Mars Bars….
There was a time when UK service station were rightly derided. Fortunately in recent times they have improved with outlets offering food from Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. However, the very best service station I know is in the Lake District in Cumbrian where there is a farm shop offering local meat, cheese and vegetables in addition to a interesting and tasty range of snacks.