I don’t want to give you the wrong impression about us, but we have been looking forward to this year’s wine fair in Lille for some time. After all, it’s not every day you find 600 independent winemakers in one room, vying for your attention.
Last weekend was Lille’s turn to host the travelling salon des vins des vignerons indépendants.
We went last year and really enjoyed the experience as wine buffs. This year, we went partly with an eye to wines we might want to consider stocking in our future wine bar.
The vast conference hall at Lille’s Grand Palais was given over to the event. We headed for two stands we knew we simply had to visit.
The first was Domaine Moreux.
One of Damon’s colleagues gave him a bottle of their Sancerre as a Secret Santa gift last Christmas. (I love living in France – for comparison, in the UK, my last Secret Santa present was a novelty bobble hat.)
Anyway, Moreux’s Sancerre was so good, it reignited our passion for elegant, mineral sauvignon blancs from the central Loire area. We did what’s called a vertical tasting – you start at their cheapest and work your way up – and bought a case of their delicious Les Bouffants.
“We learned last year to go prepared – so we took two large suitcases. And stomachs lined with bread and cheese”
Next up was the Famille Rouet domaine, who make a rather tasty organic Chinon. Last year, their saleswoman, Steph, messaged me through this blog and encouraged us to go.
We had to see her and say hello again. Another couple of bottles were bought.
One of the things we learned last year was to go prepared – so we took two large suitcases. And stomachs lined with plenty of bread and cheese.
From there on, we worked our way round various Rhône appellations, including Vacqueras, Gigondas and Cornas. Our cases were starting to get quite heavy by this time.
No matter, because next was another absolute favourite region, Burgundy. We bought a case of Chablis Premier Cru from the Domaine de la Meulière and some fantastic Nuits-St-Georges from the Domaine Cornu.
Just as we were about to call time on our afternoon, we stumbled upon a very familiar face from Bergerac.
David from the Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure – one of our favourite vineyards from the area – was there. With a couple of bottles of his Pécharmant, the L’Abbaye cuvée from 2016, stuffed into the last remaining spaces in our cases, we made our way home.
All in all, it proved a very successful day. And not a bobble hat in sight.