When we complimented the white wine that our friends served at their home near Toulouse, they asked if we would like to visit the vineyard where they buy it. “Bien sûr!”
The next afternoon we set out to Tourreille, a village south of Carcassonne, near Limoux in the Languedoc – Roussillon region known for Pays d’Oc wine. This is the old region of France above the Mediterranean between the Pyrenees and Provence where Occitan, a language similar to Catalan, was spoken.
Philippe Collin is originally from the Champagne region of France and not surprisingly, he makes a wonderful Crémant. This is a sparkling wine that is not grown in Champagne, a region well north of pays d’Oc, so it cannot be called Champagne.
We savored Philippe’s Crémant Rosé (a pale pink sparkling wine—not sweet) and also loved his other wines including a simple, slightly sweet, white vin de pays d’Oc called Clos de L’Olivier, a creamy Limoux Chardonnay, and a sweet white wine (Chenin Douce D’Automne) that is perfect for an apéro or dessert.
We all tasted the wine and then toured the hilltop facility, which is encircled by ribbons of olive trees (oliviers) and acres of verdant, rolling hillsides of grapes. The vineyards extend in every direction creating a spectacularly perfect location for buying wine directly from the family who makes it.
Before leaving Domaine Collin, we sampled a red wine from an enormous vat in the production facility. It was the 2009 red—just two weeks old. We didn’t realize that it would taste like wine so quickly.
It was young but sampling it brought us into the process between the vineyard and the bottle. When it was time to go, we loaded the six-bottle cases of Crémant and white wines into the back of the car and our friend’s cocker spaniels sat on top of the wine as we headed back towards Toulouse through miles of vineyards.
The wine required an extra trip in the tiny elevator (ascenseur) to our fifth floor (4ème étage) apartment in Lyon and has already been shared and enjoyed. Salut!
To contact Domaine Collin and sample some of their fine and affordable wines:
11300 Tourreilles (near Limoux)
Tél. 04 68 31 35 69
Tél. from the US = 011 334 68 31 35 69
Fax. 04 68 31 59 64