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Friday, 25 January 2013

Favourites - Bachellery

Taking a moment this morning on a journey past Béziers, we called in at the caveau of the Domaine de Bachellery (this site has an English language version) - the domaine is just along the road from the caveau, close to the edge of Béziers.  As it turns out it is also the outlet for another local domaine, the Château de Mus, at Murviel lès Béziers around 20 km north of the city.  Both are owned by the Julien family, but we'd not previously come across Mus, whose château seems to be one of several built at the beginning of the 20th century in imitation of the grand châteaux of Bordeaux or Bourgogne, when the Languedoc wine market was temporarily good.  We must pay them a visit.

We have known Bachellery for more than 10 years, when we first visited the domaine itself with our friend Max during a holiday in Béziers.  They never did tastings at the domaine so you had to buy and hope, but now with the caveau and a choice of nearly 20 wines from 2 domaines available for free tasting, this is an excellent visit.  The place is easy to find too.  Our morning was made even more interesting because we were welcomed by Mme Julien herself, whose son is now the winemaker while her husband is, as she describes him, chef d'orchestre!  All the 6 wines we tasted were excellent, and the prices are exceptionally good - most wines under 5€ a bottle.

Most of the wines are single cépage vins de pays d'Oc.  We tasted 4 whites - a viognier from Mus and sauvignon, chardonnay and Fleur de Sel from Bachellery, the last a mixture of several grape varieties including muscat d'Alexandrie and roussanne, fragrant and pleasant.  Mary liked the chardonnay best and I the viognier and Fleur de Sel.  Then we tried 2 reds, a Bachellery pinot noir we have tried several times over the past 10 years, and a really great malbec from Mus.  We did not taste the Bachellery gewürztraminer, called Ballade en Straminer and with a picturesque label and Alsace-shaped bottle, but we bought some bottles anyway - again, we know from experience that it is delicious.  It costs twice as much as the others we bought - 9.50€ a bottle - but it is worth every penny.

There are plenty more wines to try on a future visit - grenache which we know already, and merlot, from Bachellery, and an intriguing cab. franc/syrah blend from Mus.  We shall certainly return!