Last Friday night, I was asked to do a wine tasting in the village hall for 60 people to raise funds for the village twinning association. We’re twinned with Hautvillers, a beautiful village in the Champagne region. In fact, Dom Perignon, the monk who ‘discovered’ Champagne is buried here (even though technically the whole bubbles-in-wine thing was discovered by the English years before but that doesn’t make for such a good story). Anyway, point is we’ve hit the twinning jackpot as every year the people of Hautvillers give our village a few cases of Champagne. In return we give them bottles of our local sparkler, Beaulieu Bubbly. Like I said, jackpot.

Current white on the side: Waitrose Chablis 2010, £8.29 (currently 20% off), Waitrose
The tasting on Friday included a Chablis and for those who’d had a bad experience with an oaky, buttery, shouty Chardonnay, this one was a real eye-opener. Chablis is the Chardonnay grape at its most pure: oak and other wine-making trickery is rare in this region. Here, it is all about the place. Being northern France, the cooler climate makes wines with green apples and acidity as their markers. This particular one is great value; one to try if you are thinking of going with a Chablis for Christmas lunch. There, I said the C word. Suck it up. 

Current red on the side: Domaine Jones Rouge 2009, £14.99, Laithwaites or Domaine Jones
Hands up, I didn’t pay for this one. I didn’t steal it either. Rather, I am lucky enough to know the lady who makes it. Katie Jones worked for a French winery selling their wines here for years. Then one day she fell in love with a little vineyard in the Languedoc region in the South of France and moved lock, stock and new French oak barrel to a life as a vigneron (someone who grows grapes for winemaking to you and me). This is the first time I’ve tasted the results. I’m only sorry she didn’t do this years ago, the wine is – like her – gorgeous. Made from the Grenache grape, it is juicy, bright and full of red fruit flavours. Dreamy with our rosbif on Sunday. 

Chin chin x

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  1. Yes would say you hit the jackpot! Lucky village.

  2. MM – ha ha, aren't we just…

  3. Free bubbly, an anti-CaliChard Chablis, and what sounds like a wonderful Grenache…are there any homes for sale in your village?

  4. Vinogirl – we have a spare room and you are welcome anytime x

  5. Damn you! I think where I live in south east london is twinned with Calais. Or maybe a ghetto-y Parisian suburb. Needless to say we don't have a local wine…

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