I should say there is a little bit of self interest here. My parents-in-law Rob and Norma, who are big wine lovers, have been enjoying wine from the Monconseil Gazin estate for some years. Their original knowledge of this particular vineyard came about via an unusual present that Norma bought Rob for a birthday. The birthday presented entitled Rob to own a row of vines for a year at the estate. Mainly a bit of a fun yes, but it has led to them returning to the vineyard and buying the wines every year since.
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support local vineyards
As with the Côtes de Bourg the Côtes de Blaye is one of the lesser known appellations of Bordeaux producing more simple wines but still with 6600 hectares under vine. Merlot is king, with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec also produced. Most wines produced here are blends of the three. The majority of the operations are family affairs and I saw this at first hand on my visit to the Château Monconseil Gazin in July. It was built in around 1500 and soon became an important country seat. Since 1894 five generations of the Baudet family have been making wine although wine has been produced here for many more centuries. It was only in the 1950s that the Gazin parcel of land was added and the Château took the name it is known by today. The family are celebrating 120 years of history over the weekend of the 20th and 21st September this year.
|Touring the cellars|
|5 fantastic wines are made at Monconseil Gazin|
|Francoise discussing wines with Rob, Norma & myself|
But more important than the details of the wines, Francoise was a fantastic host, speaking perfect English and welcoming us with bundles of enthusiasm for her wines. This is the lovely thing about the wine industry in France. Yes, some of it is very corporate and big business like but much of it isn't. It's about families who are so proud of their produce and they just enjoy sharing that love with you.
As we were leaving we popped our heads into the winery itself and saw Francoise's daughter helping to label the bottles. Francoise told us she was more interested in horses than wine at the moment but hopefully that will change. I hope so too. So lovely to see a family business being handed from generation to generation.
If you are ever in France, or indeed in any other wine producing area do go and visit the local vineyard. I am pretty certain you will get a very warm welcome.
|Me with Francoise|
|A memento of our visit|
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Until next time. Enjoy your wine.