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Showing posts with label Montpellier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montpellier. Show all posts

25 January 2012

Millésime Bio 2012

Just returned from a day-and-a-half tasting my way around what appears to have become the biggest organic wine show in the world, Millésime Bio in Montpellier (the Languedoc's finest/only city). But it's still a nice down-to-earth user-friendly fair though, like the growers and winemakers themselves who were there showing their wares on a simple table so you can easily talk and taste. No flash stands, corporate bull or "ah, you haven't made an appointment?" attitudes.
Anyway, expect plenty of new winery "profiles" (I'll drop the FBI gag this time... oops there I go again with that silly/sad sense of humour) and updates over the coming weeks, focusing on people and wines fresh from the Roussillon, Languedoc, southern Rhone, Bandol and Corsica...

24 June 2011

Montpellier / Béziers area restaurants & wine bars

(Read on for listings at the bottom)

1. Les Caves de Trinque Fougasse
Trinque Fougasse is a lively Montpellier wine bar and restaurant institution, and I finally  went there not so long ago having tried at least once in the past but couldn't find it! Montpellier isn't the easiest of cities to navigate your way around, for the uninitiated non-local (well, I did live nearby for six months going back a few years) - especially with yet more serious roadworks currently underway thanks to the latest ambitious tram-line extensions (a good thing of course, when all completed...) - and Trinque Fougasse is found a bit of a way north of the centre lurking among university buildings etc. Anyway, it's worth the trek for its usually buzzing atmosphere, fairly huge wine selection from the Languedoc & Roussillon and no-nonsense hearty Med food.

Click to view YouTube video of new summer platter

They describe their cuisine as "ni gastronomique ni cantine" meaning it's somewhere inbetween: not trying to be fancy or pretentious but certainly not school dinners and still good quality. Set menu options include: at lunchtime, the day's special for 12€ or for 14€  combine it with a starter or dessert; or go the whole hog and have 3 dishes for 16€. The kind of thing they're good at is tasty charcuterie - cured hams and sausage - mussels, tapenade and brandade (olive paste, very garlicky mashed salt cod and spud), sizzling squid on a hotplate, beef tartare and steaks, "Emincé de magret," a kind of cottage pie but with duck, cheeses from the south etc. They do a large combo-platter including some of these dishes plus homemade orange gâteau for 20 euros at lunchtime and 25 euros for dinner.
As you go in, you pass through their wine shop so can browse the wine list on the shelf (not actually a huge difference in price between drinking it in or carry out, from memory), and they have a bigger range available for sale on-line. TF also organizes regular tasting events with winegrowers showing and talking about their own wines, run a mini wine school and hold jazz evenings etc.
1581 route de Mende, 34090 Montpellier. Tel: 04 99 23 27 00, and lots more info @ trinquefougasse.com.

More restaurants & wine bars reviewed or mentioned on this blog:

2. Folia restaurant @ Ch de Flaugergues - Montpellier
3. chez Paul[e] - Montpellier
4. Chez Boris - Montpellier
5. La Raffinerie - Béziers
6. Le Chameau Ivre - Béziers
7. La Distillerie - Saint Marcel sur Aude

8. Marie-Jean - Sète

9. Le Plaisance - Bourg, Bordeaux.

13 June 2011

Montpellier: Château de Flaugergues & Folia restaurant

Château de Flaugergues was no doubt once set among rolling fields basking in splendid isolation; now, it nestles somewhat incongruously in the Quartier du Millénaire just on the outskirts of the sprawling Montpellier metropolis, next door to the firestation, chain hotels and office buildings. But, as soon as you turn into their palm-tree lined driveway alongside the first plot of vines you see, it feels a bit like “let’s do the time warp again…” Ironically perhaps, this area’s name (= the millennium district) is quite fitting for a noble estate that’s notched up a few hundred years of history. Descendant Etienne de Flaugergues acquired it in 1696 and the family has occupied the place ever since. Current incumbents Brigitte and Henri de Colbert are, I understand, also relatives of Louis XIV's Finance Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, and their son Pierre is now in charge of vineyards and winery. They've restored/maintained the château, rooms and gardens keeping a period feel although they do actually live here too. They do tours around this lovely old property, including a wine tasting of course, for a small fee; and can host private receptions as well: see flaugergues.com for more info.
The de Colberts have also opened an on-site eatery called Folia, serving “market cuisine”, where I tasted most of Flaugergues’ range with Pierre and a group of other scoffing wine journos back in late March (see my notes below). The chef’s certainly making an effort to grab your attention, although personally found they were perhaps trying a little too hard to be kinda trendy fusion blah, e.g. beef stir-fry in a very lemony sauce (refreshing but what wine with that?) or ling (‘julienne’ in French, a fish I’ve never heard of in English but have come across it before in Med France) with sort-of red fruit crumble! And, call me old-fashioned, I quite like seeing and enjoying the texture of vegetables rather than everything in a puree. But certain combinations and dishes were good, especially the desserts. Set daily menu: €16 for two courses, €19.50 for three. The restaurant’s open Monday to Friday lunchtimes and for group bookings only evenings and weekends: phone (+33) (0)4 99 526 635.

Château de Flaugergues ‘Foliae’ 2010, La Méjanelle (Grenache blanc, Rolle, 12.5% alc.) – aromatic pear with quite exotic peach and pineapple flavours vs zesty/chalky texture, attractive, quite light and easy style. 1 €7
Château de Flaugergues ‘Cuvée Sommelière’ white 2010, Languedoc (Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Rolle) – a bit closed up to start, fatter mouth-feel and quite exotic fruit with lees-edged roundness; lacks a touch of acidity, it might open up and blossom. 1 €9
‘Le Vin de l’Oncle Charles’ 2007 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) – “as it says on the label,” from his uncle’s vineyard: a bit overly chocolate oaky, nice enough sweet fruit underneath and a bargain at €3.50.
Château de Flaugergues red 2008 (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) – a tad lean maybe vs some simple berry fruit.
Château de Flaugergues ‘Les Comtes’ red 2008 (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) – quite subtle I guess, again not showing much. €6
Château de Flaugergues ‘Cuvée Sommelière’ red 2007, Grés de Montpellier (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre; 13.5%) – this one was a little closed up on the nose too – most of these wines were screw-capped, from memory, by the way – but it gets richer and spicier with tight tannins, quite classy in the end. 1-2 €9
‘Cuvée Colbert’ 2006, Grés de Montpellier (Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache) – oaky although has fairly lush texture with black cherry and liquorice notes, grainy texture and again quite tightly structured vs bit of oomph. 1 €12


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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.