We are sat outside for our evening meal...and my wife mentions...purely by chance...about our many visits to France.
'Remember that pile of bottles?' she asked.
Yes...I did...my wife and I and her brother were stopping over at the Hostellerie Chateau des Fines Roches in Chateauneuf-du-Pape..this is the early 80's
We had visited a couple of properties...but my big wish was to visit Chateau Rayas. Louis Reynaud, an extrovert character, had died in 1978..and the owner at the time of our visit was his son Jacques...no less extrovert I had been told. 'You'll never get in...he'll probably produce a shotgun'...was the general information from the wine trade.
We proceeded to the main square and started to ask directions. Shakes of heads...blank looks...told it all. This was a property that didn't exactly have a PR department.
Next idea...local policeman directing traffic...again...blank look. I thought policeman knew everything! We eventually found someone who 'thought' they knew the direction. We set off...along dusty roads...the heat beating down on the stony vineyards. Suddenly...round a corner...a hand-written sign...arrowing us to turn left. Finally we arrived at a 'derilict' building.
The photo I supply here was not what we saw back then.. My wife and her brother waited in the car...knowing this may have been in vain. I knocked on the battered door. After a short time...I heard footsteps. I waited for the buckshot! The door opened...and there stood Jacques Reynaud...peering at me over his glasses. He inquired what I wanted...and...being prepared...I said I knew a Wine Merchant in England. The name rang a bell with him...they were his agent there...and I quickly followed this with my enthusiasm for his wines. I waited...he turned...and beckoned me in. I turned to the car...gave the thumbs-up..and followed Jacques. The place where he took me was where it all happened...and was a minor chaos. Bottles and equipment all over the place. He said he didn't have any wine open...so I asked if I could buy some bottles of Chateau Rayas. He only had 1978 he said...and he could only let me have 3 bottles. Only!!...I agreed...no point in pushing your luck. He had softened by now...and we did the deal and I said my goodbyes. As I left the house...my brother-in-law had been round the side of the house....and he beckoned me to take a look. Outside of the window to the room where I had been...was a gigantic pile of old used bottles. It was obvious what Jacques did. Whenever a bottle was empty...he threw it out of the window. My brother-in-law helped himself to a couple of really old one and we left...and me still intact. I bragged about my success to anyone who would listen. I got in to Chateau Rayas! The Vintage 1978 was the last for Louis and the first for Jacques. Jacques passed away in 1997.
Which all leads me to the wine...a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape...which was merely a coincidence and was opened before our trip down Memory Lane.
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret 2007
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The origin of the name Vieux Lazaret dates back to the 18th century, when a hospice (or Lazaret) existed in the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This hospice, provided by the Lazarists, offered comfort and shelter for the poor and infirm. The Lazarists were a silent order of monks, which were founded in 1625 by St Vincent de Paul to look after the sick and the needy in the French countryside. No doubt they drank wine...but females were banned of course. Not sure which is the most dangerous for your health. None..I reply quickly....
1. I like Wine...and
2. My Wife occasionally reads my Blog Notes!
Lightish style...delightfully so with the warm evening...trace of honey and soft burnt almond..even a touch of tar. More weight on the palate..and nicely layered.. Good acidity and a good lively finish. Enjoyable.