Wine Tasting

….at your place or mine.

The summer months for me and all at Tasting The Lot, are dedicated to wine tasting, melons and figs. To be honest I wait all year for July and August to fill my cupboards with preserves (I am not sorry to say I have already started thinking about harvest festivals and Christmas!!) and my wine cellar with wonderful local rose, white and red wines!!

I love this time of year, well actually there is something wonderful each month, even the snow is lovely! Whether you live here full time, have a second home, holiday home or are just visiting for a holiday, this is one of the most beautiful places to relax and enjoy life and all its amazing food and wine. The markets are now overflowing with wonderful produce that The Quercy can offer. We have something in The Lot and The Quercy that is tasty for all palates.

There are great views, whether in the centres of the towns where the architecture is stunning or driving about the region it is impossible to miss the layers of history and the multitude of vineyards, farms and food producers.

For over 25 years I have been visiting and living in this region. My main love (and job) is teaching about wine and wine tasting. To add a little bit more of a guided tour to the region I pair the local wines to local food. Focussing on non-English speaking small boutique vineyards and producers, encouraging tourists and those of us who live here all year round, to visit the places that don’t have enormous marketing and advertising budgets, or are so busy growing and making the food and wine we want to eat, that the market is their main selling place! Language is the only barrier, if you can’t speak French it can be very difficult to try new wines, learn about the region and the producers.

Wine tasting is a very subjective thing. When I was studying Viticulture and Vinfication we were taught that wine tasters come into categories, novices, experimentalists and connoisseurs. Admitting honestly which one a person is, is for me, half the battle with wine tasting. I am an experimentalist! Even after 25 years in the Wine Trade I am still learning. Each year a new vintage brings new flavours, each new wine bottle, I hope, tastes different from the year before, there are so many things to make each year taste different, the weather for a start, this year we have had some terrible weather already and there are 5 months to go before the grapes are picked. Then there is the winemaker, each year it can change, different yeasts used impart different flavours and I love that about wine. For me, if a wine tastes the same year in year out, something is not quite right! A little bit like McDonalds tasting the same wherever you are in the world. Wine should not taste the same every year!

Wine tasting in this wonderful region is terribly simple if you can speak French. Don’t let that stop you trying the most amazing wines. If a little apprehensive of visiting new places, unable to understand French or want to learn more about wine from an English speaking local, then why not get in touch.

I can organise wine tastings at your holiday home for 6 and more people, explain about the wines, vineyards and organise a wine tasting for 6 or more in a box, please get in touch for more information or set you on the right trail. If you have a gîte, villa or a group coming to stay, Tasting The Lot can visit, bringing wines and some sample foods of the region and help enable a tour of the vineyards right at home, no need to worry about someone drink driving, we can talk you through the wines, vineyards and a little bit of history to help make the holiday.

This editions food is figs (melons too, but there have been some excellent articles about melons in The Quercy Local, check out the website for previous information and make sure you try the melons from Lectoure, Lauzerte and Montcuq!)

Figs are absolutely delicious fresh. Very soon the markets will be full of them, eat them raw, baked drizzled with honey and Roquefort or goats cheese, sliced with local hams, chopped in salads or just eat them! Heaven. I am very lucky to have a few fig trees in my garden, if you don’t, your neighbour is bound to, once you say you like figs, then everyone starts sharing!

Yes I said earlier I was already thinking about Christmas….sorry but this chutney is well worth the effort and it needs time to mature and so….yes, make some. It is delicious.

Boxing Day Chutney, adapted from my Ma’s Constance Spry recipe

2kg fresh figs, black and green mixed, de stalked and quartered

1kg granulated or demerara sugar (the darker the sugar the darker the final chutney)

1 ltr vinegar

1kg sultanas

½ kg onions sliced

2 small chillies finely chopped

1 inch fresh ginger crushed and finely chopped

1 tsp mustard seeds

Method

Chop all the ingredients and place in stainless steel pan, add dry ingredients and pour over ½ ltr vinegar and simmer in a covered pan until all fruit soft. Pour the remaining vinegar over the sugar in a separate bowl and leave in a warm space for the sugar to dissolve. When fruit cooked pour over dissolved sugar and vinegar mix and cook uncovered until chutney thick and can draw spoon across the pan and you can see the bottom. Pour carefully into sterilised jars and seal. Keep in cupboard for 4-6 months to mature.

For more information regarding wine tastings at home please contact tasting@tasting-the-lot.com or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Happy Tastings, Luci Cox