Lunch in the cool of the Boulevard Napoléon winery
Chef John and Trevor Gulliver braving both
the heat of the Minervois and the barbecue
to bring guests delicious quail
Joseph Paillé checking out the 2014 Grenache Gris, Boulevard Napoléon
Wine is, of course, many things – an agricultural way of life and a product that can live for decades even, in rare instances, for centuries. One of the rare agricultural products that has glamour. Wine is also a worldwide global commerce as typified by this week’s Vinexpo gathering in Bordeaux.
It is all of these things and more but its essence is surely one of enjoyment. Enjoyment of three Gs: a good glass or two, good food and good company. Of course you can enjoy wine alone but it isn’t the same.
Over the weekend we were at Boulevard Napoléon’s annual fête des vins in La Livinière, the only cru of the Minervois. This convivial fête sums up the essence of wine.
Boulevard Napoléon is the French arm of the St John Restaurant group headed by Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson. Trevor has had a house in nearby Homps, on the Canal du Midi, for some 15 years. It was in 2010 that he was persuaded to buy some vines high up in the hills and the following year Boulevard Napoléon made its first vintage.
Last year we were kindly invited to their now annual Fête des Vins, which was when we conceived the idea of riding from Pauillac to La Livinière to raise money for Parkinson’s UK as Fergus has had Parkinson’s since 1998. Our fundraising ride has currently hit £5,332.50 including gift aid – an additional 20% that the UK Government puts in for UK taxpayers.
The Pedallers’ team @the finish with Fergus
2014 Grenache Gris, IGP Hérault – very attractive, medium weight,
well balanced white with good crisp acidity.
You are not aware that it is 14.5%
The soft and juicy red: 2014 Bien Autre, IGP Hérault
The domaine’s second wine – best chilled especially in a heatwave