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Irish Gatherings and Dutch Courage

March and April have been busy for the team at Laurent Miquel. We started the month at ProWein, where we reconnected with many of our importer partners from around the world. It's great to taste and discuss the new vintages and to update our partners on the vintage conditions of the past year, as well as any challenges we face and also how we feel the wines are progressing.

Towards the end of March, we co-hosted a masterclass at the Anantara Hotel in Dublin with Matthew Stubbs MW, the second in our successful series covering the Quality Revolution in the Languedoc (the first having taken place in The Netherlands last October). We hosted a group of journalists, wine professionals and students for a masterclass of great depth, looking at how the Languedoc has evolved over the last 50 years from a region more famous for big, rustic wines, mostly used for blending, into a region of quality-focused, innovative producers, who are now striving for elegance, finesse and terroir-expression. Laurent spoke of his journey into white wine making, (which started with Viognier in the 1990s), and why north-south planting is so important for freshness. We talked about the impact of global warming and the steps we are taking to mitigate against it, regenerative agriculture, as well as the Albarino experiment and more. Of particular interest was the vertical tasting in magnum of La Vérité Viognier 2017 - 2018 - 2021, proving just how well this varietal can age.

After the masterclass, we sojourned to the Forbes Street restaurant in the hotel, where Gareth Mullins and team served us Flaggy Shore oysters, which paired wonderfully with the organically-certified St Blaise rosé; a delicious tomato dish with romesco sauce, perfectly paired with Côte 128 Pech Sévignac Viognier; and Spring lamb with smoked aubergine, sublime with Bardou St Chinian. A wonderful way to spend the day in Dublin! We're looking forward to more of these events in our markets in the coming months, so watch this space!

We always enjoy a visit to the Netherlands to our importer partners, Verbunt Verlinden, who really feel like our friends after almost 30 years of working together. This year's Spring tasting took place in early April, at the gorgeous Salentein estate in Nijkerk, and was a huge success. It's fantastic to reconnect with our Dutch clients, many of whom have visited us over the years and have followed our family story.

La Vérité Viognier is always a big favourite in the Netherlands and we showed the 2021 in both bottle and magnum, with many conversations on how different formats can really affect a wine's evolution. The red wines of Côte 136 Pech Cézarine and Bardou, both Syrah-based wines of the St Chinian appellation, showed particularly well, reflecting Laurent's new direction with red winemaking. There is a lightness of touch and freshness that is particularly evident in the newly-released 2020 vintage. Albarino is often something of a discovery for Dutch wine lovers, as it is still quite a new market for this grape variety. There is often surprise expressed - "Albarino from France!?" - and we share the story of how Laurent and Neasa discovered Château Auzines and why the micro-climate there makes it the perfect site for producing Albarino of elegance and freshness, despite the generally warm and arid climate of the Languedoc region in general.

Thank you to the team at Verbunt Verlinden and we look forward to the next event!

A bientôt! We'll see you all soon.

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