We had a busy couple of days at the beginning of November with our importers Verbunt Verlinden and invited guests in Holland. Matthew Stubbs MW hosted a masterclass on the Quality Revolution in the Languedoc, in collaboration with Laurent, and there were animated discussions with the 20 professional sommeliers and wine trade professionals who attended the event. The masterclass was held in the sublime Ganzenest restaurant, where Head Chef Erik Tas produced outstanding dishes to pair with a selection of our premium family wines, including our Côte 238 Albarino, our top cuvée Larmes des Fées and a vertical of 3 vintages of La Verité Viognier.
Matthew Stubbs gave an overview of the changes in the Languedoc over the last 50 years, pointing out that top producers now focus much more on quality in the vineyards and not on processes in the winery. Many producers now plant any new vineyards from a north to south direction - something we have been doing for almost 30 years - thereby protecting the grapes from excess heat and sun. There is also something of a white wine revolution, with many new and exciting grape varieties coming from our region.
Laurent has been recognised as one of the best white wine makers of the Languedoc, which began with his mastery of the Viognier grape. La Vérité Viognier, a wine which has won many accolades and awards, scoring high scores from respected critics as Tim Atkin MW and Jancis Robinson MW, epitomises the potential of Viognier, as well as its ability to age. We showed a small vertical of the 2017, 2020 and 2021 wines which explored how the wine evolves over time.
Since then of course, Laurent has been a pioneer and one of the few innovators for the Albarino grape in the Languedoc and in France generally. His approach, as quoted by Natalie Earl in "Ten reasons to rediscover the Languedoc", featured in the the November edition of Decanter magazine, was "to create something really fresh, mineral and crisp, and get the purity of Albariño", and this summarises Laurent's philosophy, not only to Albariño and our white wines, but equally our rosé and red wines. Laurent is never afraid to experiment or try new things and he adjusts where necessary, whether that's in the vineyard or the winery. Kaizen - aiming to do a little bit better, every day.
We are very grateful to our partners Verbunt Verlinden and their extraordinary team who hosted this fantastic event - we were very proud to be part of it. Thank you also to Matthew Stubbs MW, who shared his vast knowledge and expertise of the Languedoc to all in the room. We love to visit the Dutch market - it's a fascinating country with an exciting food and wine scene. We can't wait to return!