30 Jun

Review by Tamlyn Currin on Jancis Robinson’s Website

http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/book-reviews-2015-africa-china-and-an-ebook

JR

Written by Tamlyn Currin 7 Jan 2016

The Wines and Winemakers of Languedoc-Roussillon
Gorley’s Guide 2 – vineyards, people and places of the wilder south of France – by Peter Gorley – Hamilton John Publishing
£12.99, $18.99 as an ibook, and as a pdf

Just one ebook this year – quite surprising, in this digital era of ours. Richard has many interesting observations to make on ebooks and wine books in general that he will be sharing soon, but there is a smidgeon of irony in the fact that the only ebook that landed on my desk was written by one of the older authors in this crop (no offence, Mr Gorley!).

What didn’t surprise me, however, was to read the following in the opening lines: ‘When I was writing the first edition of my Guide, the UK’s celebrated wine writer Jancis Robinson MW (and now OBE) suggested I put it up on the Internet. That was in the year 2000. It’s taken me 15 years to follow her good advice!’

This is the second edition of Gorley’s guide to the Languedoc-Roussillon. The first one was a ring-bound paperback published in 2002 with 150 wineries and 12 routes. This one features a whopping 500 wineries over 15 possible routes.

The 15 routes determine the structure of the book, starting with a colour-coded map to give the reader an overview of where each route is set. Gorley has neatly split the routes by area, starting with the north-east corner of the Gard, moving roughly south west through the Hérault and Aude, and finishing in the furthest corner of the Pyrénées-Orientales. Each chapter begins with a map of the area, each winery clearly labelled using a numbered key.

Gorley has a way of making you feel as though he’s whizzing you down the A9 to take you to some places that he loves. It’s written in such a chatty style, casual, unapologetically personal. He describes St-Chinian, ‘a bright blue New Holland tractor easing its way out; kids hurling themselves around a hillside doing cyclo-cross; a cycling club in bright kit whizzing by …’ and it’s as if you’re sitting in the front passenger seat of his car, listening to him rattle on about Cyril Bourgne, whose grandfather was a coffee grower in Africa, while he waves at Patricia Bettoni passing by in her elegant sunglasses at the wheel of a tractor. He also writes with quiet humour, so subtle you could easily miss it: “Alternatively, go east to Beaucaire (ignoring the cement works, though in the evening they glow rose-red …)”.

Without following too much of a strict format, the winery write-ups start with contact details (address, website and email address if they exist, and phone numbers). There is then a little story about the estate, which ranges from very detailed to little more than perfunctory – but what I find most interesting is how this book seems to be marked with kindness. Obviously he hasn’t picked wine estates that he thinks are awful, but he’s found something encouraging to say about even the slightly more ordinary estates. There are useful comments on wines tasted and others made but not tasted. Where he hasn’t been able to taste any wines, he’s included feedback from others. The tasting notes are not for a particular vintage, although he’ll usually give an indication of when they were tasted – they are obviously meant to be a more general guide as to the character and quality of each cuvée rather than a review. Gorley has wisely, I think, left any form of scoring out although it’s very obvious to see from his notes which wines he thinks are special.

The whole guide is punctuated with the photographs, some of them breathtakingly beautiful – most of them taken by Peter Gorley himself. But what I particularly loved were the stunning abstract paintings of vines and wines and landscapes done by his artist wife, Elizabeth Hannaford. How to turn a travel guide into something a little extraordinary…

…Gorley’s unrepentant love of the region shines through every page: ‘I love this wild, heretical part of France, so I can’t really be accused of objectivity’. His introduction finishes thus: ‘Note: Please use Gorley’s Guide 2 responsibly and in moderation.’ I’d counsel otherwise.

Use it to excess.

Vendanges

ELIZABETH HANNAFORD Vendanges I (Verlaine series), 10x14cm watercolour/ink on paper.
Excerpt From: Peter Gorley: “The Wines & Winemakers of Languedoc-Roussillon.” iBooks.

25 Mar

32 “Anglo-Saxon” Proprietor-Winemakers in Languedoc-Roussillon

A selection of 32 fine winemakers/proprietors, with Gorley’s e-Guide Route references, from Uzès in the north-east, to Trouillas in the deep south of Catalan Roussillon, from La Clape in the east to Limoux in the west.
Seek them out!
• Aubaï Mema – Mark Haynes in Aubais – R3
• Dom du Poujol – Robert Cripps – Vailhauques – R4
• Dom de Saumarez – Robin Williamson – Murviel-lès-Montpellier – R4
• Dom de la Rencontre – Julie & Pierre Lorimer Viudes – Vic la Gardiole – R4
• Dom des Trois Terres – Graeme Angus – Octon – R5
• Dom La Traversée – Gavin Crisfield – St Privat – R5
• La Péira en Damaisèla – Rob Dougan – Jonquières – R5
• Dom Saint Hilaire – Daniel James – Montagnac – R6
• Sainte Cécile du Parc – Christine Mouton Bertoli – Caux – R6
• Mas Gabriel – Peter & Deborah Core – Caux – R6
• Dom Sainte-Rose – Charles & Ruth Simpson – Servian – R7
• Dom des Trinités – Simon Coulshaw – Roquessels, Faugères – R7
• Dom de Combebelle – Catherine & Patrick Keohane – Villespassans – R8
• Clos du Gravillas – Jon & Nicole Bojanowski – St Jean de Minervois – R9
• Ch Maris – Bertie Eden – La Livinière – R9
• Hegarty Chamans – Sir John Hegarty – Trausse-Minervois – R9
• Ch Saint-Jacques d’Albas – Graham Nutter – Laure-Minervois – R9
• Ch Camplazens – Peter & Susan Close – Armissan – La Clape – R10
• O’Vineyards – Joe, Liz & Ryan O’Connell – Viilemoustassou – R11
• Dom Gayda – Vincent Chansault, T. Ford, Anthony Record – Brugairolles -R11
• Dom Bégude – James & Catherine Kinglake – Cépie – R11
• Ch Rives-Blanques – Caryl & Jan Panman – Cépie – R11
• Les Clos Perdus – Hugo Stewart & Paul Old – Peyriac-de-Mer – R12
• Ch Spencer La Pujade – Christopher Spencer – Ferrals-les-Corbières – R12
• Ch des Auzines – Neasa & Laurent Miquel – Lagrasse – R12
• Dom Sainte Croix – Jon & Elizabeth Bowen – Fraïssé-des-Corbières – R13
• Dom Jones – Katie Jones – Tuchan – R13
• Dom Matassa – Tom Lubbe – Calce – R14
• Dom de la Pertuisane – Richard Case – Maury – R14
• Domain of the Bee – Justin Howard-Sneyd MW – Maury – R14
• Dom Grier – Jeff & Simon Grier – St Paul de Fenouillet – R14
• Dom Treloar – Jonathan Hesford & Rachel Treloar – Trouillas – R15

Anglo-Saxon Winemakers in Languedoc-Roussillon

24 Feb

Wine Tourism in Languedoc in French – includes reference to Assignan, my village

L’oenotourisme de Peter Gorley by Andre Deyrieux

Article du 30-01-2016

L’heure n’est plus trop à l’impression et au papier. Aussi, 13 ans après l’édition de son Gorley’s Guide des vignerons et des vins du Languedoc et du Roussillon, Peter Gorley – qui a effectué un travail de refonte complète de ses découvertes – a choisi la publication numérique iBook ou PDF pour sa parution.
15 routes et 500 vignerons contre 12 routes et 150 domaines en 2002, on mesure le travail nécessaire… En tout cas, l’ouvrage, rédigé en anglais, est plus que jamais une référence.
Une suggestion d’hôtels, de restaurants, de bars à vins vient compléter les itinéraires. Photographies et cartes, ainsi que des peintures de son épouse, accompagnent les textes.

Nous avons demandé à Peter quelques unes de ses adresses oenotouristiques préférées ; un choix difficile, au vu de la croissance du secteur depuis dix ans.
Voici sa sélection, outre les récents et très colorés village et château Castigno à Assignan dont tout le Languedoc parle (www.chateaucastigno.com) :
– à Bize-Minervois, le Chateau de Cabezac avec ses formations et ses découvertes oenotouristiques (www.chateaucabezac.com)
– à Brugairolles, au sud-ouest de Carcassonne, le Domaine Gayda dirigé par Vincent Chansault a un restaurant sympathique . Sa « Vinécole » propose des séminaires de formation avec Matthew Stubbs, MW (www.domainegayda.com)
– à Pennautier, le Château de Pennautier est un « complexe » oenotouristique complet, avec magnifique château XVIIe s., parc, restaurant, boutique, lieux de séminaires… (www.lorgeril.com)
– à Montagnac, le Château Saint-Martin de la Garrigue (XVIIIe s.) peut se louer avec piscine, terrain de tennis… (www.stmartingarrigue.com)
– à Pézenas, le Prieuré Saint-Jean de Bébian récemment rénové de fond en comble (www.bebian.com)
Côté storytelling, Peter apprécie le Domaine de Cébène à Faugères, qui rappelle l’histoire de cette déesse – Cebenna – aux amours malheureuses qui vînt mourir en Languedoc, donna sa forme de femme allongée au massif du Caroux, et son nom aux… Cévennes. (www.cebene.com)
Le livre s’achète sur http://petergorley.com

21 Dec

Gorley’s Guide to the Wines & Winemakers of Languedoc-Roussillon

Pic1

With an Australian mother and a seafaring Devonian father, travel must be in my blood. When I was seven and living in Putney SW15, Mum broached an old bottle of Seppelt’s “champagne” to celebrate Dad’s homecoming, and perhaps the die was cast: wine’s in my blood too. Thus, in the mid-80s, my artist wife Elizabeth Hannaford and I fell in love with an ancient house – lieu-dit Le Château – in a small wine village in Languedoc. In 1998, on holiday in Cape Town, we bought John Platter’s impeccable guide to the South African vineyards. Liz said I should write the Languedoc equivalent.

Pic2

So, in 2002 the first “Gorley’s Guide” was published, with blurbs kindly supplied by Jancis Robinson MW and Kermit Lynch. The book sold out over a couple of years. Readers, including UK wine writer Malcolm Gluck, were complimentary. From the Millennium onwards, tracking the development of the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region became my obsession, fuelled by value-for-money wines and the excitement as Masters of Wine bought houses, and many Brits and other outsiders bought vineyards around us. The region has blossomed.

This second edition has taken almost a decade to assemble. Many kilometers have been driven, a vast amount of tasting done, and rather a lot of buying. Generous winemakers have also gifted me fine bottles. Wine shows in London and Languedoc, local fêtes, open cellar doors, and wine trails – sentiers gourmands – have helped flesh out my coverage of the region. My notebooks have filled with decreasingly legible tasting notes.

The winemakers may also see photos of themselves when younger, like mine above!