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Wine: Minervois

Pursuits | By Bill Knott


'Gayda is a collaboration between Englishman Tim Ford, Cape Town-born entrepreneur Anthony Record and Loire winemaker Vincent Chansault, and their estate – the smartest in the area – welcomes visitors with open arms (and bottles).'

You will not be surprised to learn that my annual holiday in France is spent among the vines – but not the manicured vineyards of exalted Bordeaux châteaux, nor the precious little plots of the Côte d’Or, nor even the grand cru villages of Champagne. Too much like work. No, we head for the Minervois, where the Canal du Midi straggles through scruffy vineyards, rosé is €5 a pichet in the village café, and everything shuts on a Monday afternoon. Any tourist attractions in the area – the medieval theme parks of Carcassonne and Minerve, and countless grottes – were ticked off the list long ago. It would be remiss not to visit a few vignerons. Most farmers around these parts simply grow grapes and sell them to the local co-operative, but more and more have loftier ambitions, and make their own wines: Frantz Vènes of Château Massamier La Mignarde...


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