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Wine Discovery: Jacques Boutin

Jacques was awaiting my arrival, at the same time deploying his workers to channel the ever increasing rivers of rain water from the vineyards, their vines now heavily burdened with fully ripened grapes of Syrah and Grenache.I made my apologies and fully resigned at my expected dismissal, was surprised at his reaction. With a wave of his hand and a typical Gallic shrug of his shoulders, he beckoned me in.

The house was part of an old Benedictine Monastery and as we negotiated the well trodden stone steps and worn corridors leading to the cellars, I could sense the atmospheric history still existent within these vaulted caves.My command of French was better than Jacque’s English but we made good progress  with the reason for my visit fully understood, to taste the wines of Chateau La Roque. The path to understanding was made much simpler of course when you remember that ‘drinking good wine has a common international language of it’s own‘.At Jacque’s invitation, throughout the day we sampled old vintages and new wines straight from the barrel, wines crafted in the traditional method [cuvee Tradition] and the finest wines of Jacques creation, Cupa Numismae Red and Clos de Bendectin White, tasting and savouring the delights of the originality of his unique style. Punctuated by frequent departures to assess the conditions outside, we continued this tasting experience well into late evening. Jacques offer of accommodation for the night.

After my deep, wine induced slumber, I awoke the next day to the unmistakable aromas of baking bread and freshly brewing coffee, the sun had thankfully replaced the rain and Jacques, who I was told had departed at dawn, was taking full advantage of this welcome gift, to bring in his long awaited red wine harvest. Leaving grapes on the vine well into late September to maximise quality, always tempts nature and tests the bravery of the vineyard owner.

Since the formation of this warm friendship, these wines of character are firmly entrenched on my list. Sadly, Jacques has now retired, however leaving a great legacy of wine creation to the new owners, the family Figuettes, who continue to produce these individual wines of great quality, in their own  professional style. Jacques now frequently flies over his old estate in the light aircraft he also lovingly restored, perhaps making sure all is still well with La Roque and with all the memories of his creations still fresh in his mind.

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