Chez Bruno of Lorgues


outdoor-chez-brunoThe restaurant Bruno, familiarly known as Chez Bruno, is a Michelin starred restaurant, specialising in truffles, in the centre of Var department, just outside the old market town of Lorgues.

I first went to Bruno’s a few years after it opened, in the late 1980s. I was guiding a press and wine buyer’s trip round Provence and the Committee Interprofessionel de Vins de Cotes de Provence had organised the dinner at the restaurant. Continue reading

Rosé Wine for the Pool or Beach


At this time of year, how often we think of holidays full of sunshine and leisure with beautiful bronzed people relaxing by or in the swimming pool or on a beach with a glass of wine or an exotic cocktail.

hotel-beach-plazaThe Côte d’Azur has long appealed to the luxury market. Provence rosé wine, though not usually in itself a luxury item, is used to evoke an image of luxury.

‘The World’s First Food & Wine Festival Dedicated to Rosé Wine’ – La Nuit en Rosé – takes place in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

“Imagine a summer evening on a luxury yacht adrift in a river of rosé, the retiring sun setting the pink-tinged wine-filled channel aglow in fiery shades of orange and coral, as you dip your glass over the railing for a refill and clink a toast with friends.”

wrote the Village Voice for the New York festival, which included a rosé tasting on a large yacht sailing round New York harbour. This is very much the classic image of rosé wine. Continue reading

What’s New at Château de Bellet

New vineyards at Château de Bellet

New vineyards at Château de Bellet

At the beginning of June I happened to go to Château de Bellet to collect some wine for a tasting I was giving in Monaco.

This was the first time I had been to the new cellar, driving through an impressive new gateway and past rows of newly planted vines.

Amidst fears that the appellation of Bellet would slowly disappear under the threat of new suburban villas, seeing new vineyards is very encouraging. How many hectares, and which varieties (possibly Rolle) has not yet been announced. Château de Bellet’s premium wine La Chapelle sells out quickly, so more wines from this estate is always good.

Changing coloured lights around the display stands  in the Chapel de Bellet

Changing coloured lights around the display stands in the Chapel de Bellet

The scene was a hive of activity – with only two days to go before the opening of the new cellar and tasting room there were carpenters, painters and electricians tying up loose ends.

To be honest, I am not sure I really liked the ultra-modern displays in the very beautiful 19th century gothic chapel, but its location, in the middle of the vineyards with a spectacular view of the city of Nice and the Mediterranean, will hopefully encourage more people to visit the Château de Bellet as well as the other large domaines of Bellet, Chateau de Crémat and Domaine Toasc to taste and buy the wine of this very small appellation. Other smaller domaines are open for tasting by appointment. See here for contact details.

Sadly I was unable to go to the opening event as it clashed with my giving a tasting of Bellet wines, but Chrissie McClatchie, of Riviera Grapevine, did go and wrote about the opening ceremony, which you can read about on my Bellet website.

Wining and Dining in Budapest


One of the perks of judging at international wine competitions, such as VinAgora, is that the hosts put on a programme for the judges to showcase local wine, gastronomy and culture. This has several purposes.

The judges get to know each other – which in an international competition is an achievement in itself. The languages amongst the judges included: Hungarian, Romanian, Czech, Croat, Bulgarian, French, German, English, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, Italian, Polish… Between us, most managed in French or English, with the few polyglots translating for those without a common language.

Vinagora judges

The judges and organisers of Vinagora 2015

The gastronomic and cultural programme also acts as a form of promotion for the host country. When the competition is based in a wine producing area, this involves visits to vineyards. As Christine Collins, organiser of five varietal competitions in Alsace, said, her competitions are structured to encourage judges to stay in the region either before or after the competition, with the aim of promoting local tourism. Continue reading