Some wineries in France are now offering some great on-line content which really strengthens the link between the consumer and producer. It has always been my contention that a wine has that bit “extra” if you know where it has come from, perhaps visited the vineyard and shaken the grubby hand of the working winemaker. The best wine memories have this sort of added value because I can make a connection with time, place, people, food etc, and for me the best wine I have tasted was not the best technically, but the most memorable because of when, where and with whom I drank it.
So, these websites can give you more of an insight into the winemaker, sometimes warts and all – and this makes the whole thing more approachable and personal – something you cannot really do with the big brands.
The latest one I came across (courtesy of www.spittoon.biz) is a Champagne house – Champagne Tarlant at Oeuilly near Epernay (51 Marne, Champagne-Ardennes) – the Champagne Tarlant website is in English, but the more interesting Champagne Tarlant Blog is regrettably only in French. However, it also includes short video clips – for example a view inside a stainless steel cuve whilst the wine is being run off with a commentary. This promises to build into a fascinating and really informative insight into wine-making in Champagne delivered by people who lack some of the pomposity often associated with Champagne producers. Recommended viewing!
Another site worth visiting is that of Domaine de Lauroux at Manciet (32 Gers, Midi-Pyrenees) – although no fancy video there is a great Vineyard Diary written by the Kitchener family who moved out to Armagnac country to run a vineyard producing Cotes de Gascogne wine, Floc de Gascogne and Armagnac.This is a fascinating series of snapshots of life in the vineyard, well written and informative.
A visit to Jean-Marc Brocard’s Chablis website is very rewarding – one of the best designs I’ve seen – very informative (and seductive!) plus there is a full 16-minute video “Four Seasons in Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard” which despite being a bit “arty” is most enjoyable to watch.