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ripening grapes in the Loire

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New visitor centre for Mount Tauch winery

MOnt Tauch winemakersDeep in deepest southern France the wine cooperative of Mont Tauch is in the heart of the Fitou and southern Corbieres appellations – this is hot, rugged country which can produce excellent rich reds, and some surprisingly fresh white wines. You have to take a detour off the main autoroutes and explore narrow country lanes to reach them, but the effort is well worthwhile. The scenery is impressive and the wines have never disappointed.

In many ways Mont Tauch is the antithesis of what we usually look for in a wine producer – firstly it is a co-operative, which can be very variable in ethos and quality; and secondly it is a big, and too often size can undermine quality and distinctiveness in the quest for more commercial (i.e. bland unoffensive) wines.

However Mont Tauch will open its new visitor centre in Languedoc in  2008. The centre, located at the winery in Tuchan (11 Aude, Languedoc) and

aims to educate visitors about the cooperative and its wines, as well as about the surrounding Fitou appellation.

Visitors will be able to learn about a range of themes, including the diversity of vineyards and village life; soils and grape varieties; vinification; and sustainable agriculture and environment. Tutored tastings in both French and English will teach visitors about the cooperative’s range of wines, and tours of the winery and vineyards will also be available later in the year.

The centre includes a shop, which will sell up to 96 different wines made by the Mont Tauch cooperative, including rare vintages, premium products, vins doux naturels and bag-in-box wines. In addition, visitors will be able to purchase local produce and will have access to tourist information on the surrounding Fitou appellation.

Katie Jones, UK Sales & Marketing Director at Mont Tauch, comments, “We decided to build a visitor centre and offer tours and tastings as wine tourism is something that we feel is very important and works well in other countries, but France has so far lagged behind. We think the new centre and shop will be a great way to attract more visitors to Mont Tauch and to introduce them to our wines and the unique way of life at the cooperative.”

Mont Tauch also has a good informative website about the wines and the region – see http://mont-tauch.fr/

In the UK numerous merchants stock these wines – e.g.Majestic Wine, who offer Fitou AC Les Hauts de Montluzy  and the Fitou AC L’Exception .“This characterful Fitou reveals rich, warming textures. Its lushness and power demands hearty food. ‘a powerful and seductive red with lovely fruit. Gutsy, well-balanced and complex.’ (Steve Pryer, ES Magazine) ‘A serious demonstration of Haut-Fitou’s potential.’ (Joanna Simon, The Sunday Times)”

Another very good co-operative in the region is at Embres-et-Castelmaure – about 12 miles south – making some expcetionally good Corbières AC wines – see MORE . In the area you can also explore the Cathar castles at Peyrepertouse and Queribus.

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