I seem to be on a roll about fetes at the moment, but my excuse is that a) it is still summer and b) that’s when the fetes are happening in Languedoc!! This post is about an evening of music, wine and food at the cooperative winery in Saint-Chinian. It takes place once a year, and it always coincides with the open day at the Cave Coop, as the cooperative winery is known locally.
I did not go to open day this year, since I’ve been several times before, but if you go to the next open day, you will be able to visit the working side of the winery, which is normally closed to the public. The inside looks not unlike a cathedral – incredibly tall, nave-like and with light streaming in through high windows at the end. Instead of pews there are wine tanks everywhere!
The reason I went inside the winery, before the fete started outside, was the unveiling of a picture. Last year the cooperative winery started a project called L’Art en Cave. Under the project a contemporary artist is commissioned to paint a mural on one of the cement tanks in the winery, which is then used as the label on that year’s special cuvee. Here is a picture of the 2013 commission:
This year Miss’Tic was commissioned to paint a mural on another tank, and there was a fair “buzz” before the unveiling, in the presence of the artist. I’ve since learnt that Miss’Tic is an internationally recognised street art painter.
Miss’Tic has been creating her pictures with the help of stencils since 1985, and I found a few of her works on the walls around the cooperative winery, discreetly placed:
Before the unveiling there was a short speech, introducing the artist, and then a few words by the artist herself. You can see they were having fun!
Then the moment came to pull on the string, to reveal the mural:
And here it is:
The mural is also reproduced on this year’s Cuvee Miss’Tic
A literal translation of the slogan on the picture would be “wine for a life without seed”, but the actual meaning is more along the lines of “wine for a life without problems”!! I’ve not tried that particular cuvee yet, so I can’t vouch for it:)!
After the unveiling there was of course a “verre d’amitie“, the all-important glass of wine. I joined my friends outside, who had found our allocated seats at one of the many tables, which had been set up in front of the winery.
The event is always well frequented by locals, and the wine grower members of the cooperative all work very hard each year, to make the event a success. The band that evening was playing R&B music, and the food was all locally prepared. Here’s a picture of the wine list:
And here is the menu:
The food on offer was as follows:
- Mussels Languedoc style with a glass of white wine
- Melon and mountain ham with a glass of rose
- Grilled duck breast and sausage with vegetables, with a glass of red wine
- Goat’s cheese with a glass of red wine
- Pastries with a glass of muscat
With each course came a glass of wine, and you could buy a wine glass, with one filling included in the price of the glass. You could of course bring your own glasses, which you had bought the year before…
The way it all worked is that tickets of a different colour for each course could be bought, either in advance at the winery, or on the night at a central till. One part of the ticket would get you the wine, the other the food. For six wine tickets you would get a whole bottle. And if you didn’t want to drink the regular wine, or weren’t hungry, you could just buy a regular bottle, pretty much at the shop price.
The mussels were cooked on great steel trays over an open fire, and they tasted absolutely delicious!
The sausages and duck breast were grilled over the same fire!
As the evening wore on, the atmosphere changed – the coloured lights started to twinkle magically :) .
Cheese was followed by dessert, and by then the light was getting a little too low for pictures. The band was playing great music, and the whole evening was just wonderful!
Don’t miss this evening if you are in St Chinian in early August!