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Montepulciano wine tour: Wineries and restaurants

From a region about 45 minutes east of Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is Brunello’s younger sibling, softer, more playful, with a mischievous spring in its step.

Montelpulciano wine tour
Palazzo Vecchio

Montepulciano wine tour: Wineries and restaurants

How to get there

Fly into Florence or Pisa airport. Drive from Florence to Montepulciano in about two hours; Pisa to Montepulciano takes about half an hour longer. The nearest city is Siena, which is an hour’s drive.

See also: Montalcino wine tour

Montepulciano wine tour: Wineries to visit


The way to Avignonesi is along an avenue of cypress trees leading to Le Capezzine, the heart of the 200-hectare estate comprising vineyards across Montepulciano and Cortona.

Montepulciano wine tour

Avignonesi. Credit:

A beautiful brick facade beckons you into the Cellar Door, a stylishly modern yet respectfully rustic loft conversion where you can taste wines by the glass – try the Grandi Annate, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2012, all wild roses and plums, and silky soft in the mouth.

Take the wine lover’s tour to explore the organic vines, maturation cellars and Avignonesi’s famous Vinsantaia – where its vin santos are aged in 50-litre caratelli oak casks – before sitting down to a four-course, wine-paired meal.

Do not even consider leaving without having meditated over the legendary vin santo, a hymn to the heavens.

January – Febraury: closed, March – April: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, May: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm–6pm, June – September: Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 12pm–6pm, October: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm–6pm, November – December: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm.


Half an hour away on the other side of Montepulciano is an historic winery named after the town’s most illustrious Renaissance poet. Poliziano has been producing sleek Vino Nobile since 1961, a trait matched in the design-led Angelo Ambrogini tasting lounge, which has a marble bar, parquet floors and wavy wood wine shelving. Never a winery to sit back, this spring Poliziano opened a stylish enoteca in the old centre of Montepulciano, in the palazzo where the great poet once lived.

Montepulciano wine tour


But the Montepulciano Stazione cellar tour still remains a firm favourite.

Open year-round, it’s a chance to see the ecological maturation cellar, whose temperature is controlled by solar power, as well as the old bottle archive showcasing Poliziano’s most prestigious vintages and wines – the likes of Sangiovese selezione Asinone and IGT Le Stanze, a classy Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend.

Winery tours arranged by appointment. 

La Dogana enotecaPalazzo Vecchio

A along the Via Lauretana Nord brings you to La Dogana enoteca, the wine bar of cantina Palazzo Vecchio (pictured top). It’s a striking building, whose central window frames the Val di Chiana plain as far as the eye can see.

The Sbernadori family serves up zero-mile valley specialities such as pici all’aglione, fat spaghetti scented with the mildest of garlic. Watch the sunset at Valiano with delicious nibbles and Palazzo Vecchio’s own Vino Nobile.

Contact for winery visits. 

When to go

The crowds flock to Montepulciano town on the last Sunday in August for the annual Bravìo delle Botti, a gruelling spectacle in which muscular men attempt to push heavy wine barrels up the cobblestone streets.

Those in the know often prefer to head for the more placid Festa di San Lorenzo in nearby Valiano in early to mid-August for flower displays and food.

But the picturesque Montepulciano area, dotted with its 75-plus wineries, is a joy to visit at any time, from spring to autumn.

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The secret life of airline wines

We take a look behind the scenes at the airline wine world, to find out how they satisfy the thirst of millions of passengers, and what their mammoth wine purchases mean for the market. Plus, what’s best to drink in the air?

airline wine
Credit: David Wingate / Alamy

Airline wines

Airlines take catering to dizzying heights, operating on a far larger scale than most hospitality arenas. American Airlines claims to launch 6,700 flights a day, and even a smaller company like British Airways was responsible for ‘uplifting’ 42.1 million passengers last year (© Statista 2017).

But how do they keep all these people wined and dined? We asked top wine consultants to explain the inner workings of the airline wine world….

A hidden market

‘Qantas is the third largest purchaser of wine in Australia’

With such enormous customer demands, airline wine is a multimillion dollar business that can prove a boon to any national wine industry.

‘What people don’t realise is that it’s a kind of hidden wine market,’ said Michael Hill Smith MW, adviser to Singapore Airlines and DWWA Co-Chair. ‘Airlines like Singapore, Qantas and BA are responsible for huge purchases of fine wine.’

He’s not wrong, Qantas claims to invest $25 million in the Australian wine industry every year and its all-Aussie wine list (bar Champagne) showcases the country’s wines all over the world.

‘Qantas is the third largest purchaser of wine in Australia,’ said CEO Gareth Evans in a Qantas International press release.

The Emirates wine cellar is said to store 3.8 million bottles of vintage wines

Airlines like Emirates go direct to producers and buy large stocks en primeur wines. A company spokesperson told that Emirates has spent $690 million on wine since 2006 — some of which won’t be poured until 2027. The Emirates wine cellar is said to store 3.8 million bottles of vintage wines.

It would seem airlines have the financial power and global exposure needed to make a producer’s reputation.

Andy Sparrow director of sales at Bibendum Travel Retail, is the man behind British Airways’ first class wine lists. He’s seen the airline’s influence first hand:

‘There is no doubt that a BA First Class listing is seen as prestigious, for a small winery it can be quite a coup. Last year Bolney Blanc de Blancs Vintage was selected as the first white English sparkling wine to be served on BA, we’ll continue listing English sparkling wine in the future.’

airline wine

Bolney Blanc de Blancs from Sussex, served on BA flights

‘For bigger wineries or négociants, a BA listing is seen as being in the shop window and getting tasted by the target audience.’

Hill Smith agreed, ‘I remember we started pouring Dog Point’s Sauvignon Blanc before many other people, at a time when it was just all about Cloudy Bay. I’d say we definitely had a hand in their positive future.’

The high altitude experts: How the wines are chosen

Top airlines recruit experts like Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine to help with their in-flight wine lists. Hill Smith explained how the they choose which wines end up on your fold-away table:

‘I fly out to Singapore with Jeannie Cho Lee MW and Oz Clarke, we spend a week blind tasting close to 1,000 wines in their categories using international tasting standards. We might taste 80-100 bottles for Business Class Bordeaux.’

Sparrow outlined what they look for at British Airways:

‘A typical list will feature the core first class Champagne, a rosé Champagne and an English sparkling wine. For reds there is always a Claret, Pinot Noir and a more robust red like a Shiraz. There is always a white Burgundy, a Sauvignon Blanc and an ABC white. Finally, a Dessert wine and a Port.’

What wines to drink on a plane

airline wine

Toast your journey with Champagne… Credit: Emirates

Sparrow previously outlined how the taste of wine can change on a plane, highlighting that vibrant fruit-driven wines can taste more enjoyable, as more astringent qualities often seem exaggerated in the dry cabin air.

Michael Hill Smith MW agreed, adding that high maintenance wines can also prove a problem:  ‘It’s hard to get ideal conditions like you might have elsewhere — decanting for example isn’t always possible.’ On the plus side, ‘you have time to really appreciate and taste,’ the MW pointed out.

‘Ripe, fruity New World wines work well,’ said Sparrow, citing Escarpment, Kupe Pinot Noir 2012 from New Zealand as his favourite on-board wine.

‘I’m always a sucker for Champagne on a flight, said Hill Smith. ‘It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, I like to celebrate the journey.’

Cabin crew confession — Champagne and sugar hand scrub

A former flight attendant at British Airways told how her cabin crew kept their hands smooth on those long, dry flights:

‘We used to empty sugar sachets into our hands, while one of the other crew would douse them with half finished bottles of Tattinger for a very expensive and luxurious hand scrub! We couldn’t land with open bottles of champers for tax reasons.’

Written by Laura Seal for

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Jefford on Monday: Value in the Langhe

Andrew Jefford catches up with Cinderellas old and new.

barbaresco, langhe wines
Barbaresco Rabaja vineyard, one of the most prestigious in the region.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my continuing search for great co-operative wineries.  The co-operative ideal is a beautiful one: fair pricing; common endeavour; shared rewards. I admit, though, that my reasons for the quest are not wholly disinterested.

I love to buy good wine, but I’m not rich.  The top wines of outperforming co-operatives offer some of the best value in today’s wine world.  In particular, when you find a great co-operative in a classic region, then you can call on an unrivalled source of affordable, dependable wine from proven terroir, as those who follow the wines of La Chablisienne in Chablis and the Cave de Tain in Tain l’Hermitage will know.

Fans of Piedmont’s greatest reds will already be familiar with Produttori del Barbaresco, but let me briefly resume some of the reasons why it, too, is such a great source.

First, it’s a true specialist: it only vinifies Nebbiolo grapes from Barbaresco; indeed 95 per cent of production comes not just from the DOCG of Barbaresco, but from the village itself (the rest is from Neive).  The decision to take Nebbiolo alone was a brave one when the co-operative was re-founded back in 1958 (its initial founding date was 1894, but it was closed by fascists in the 1930s), as many back then predicted the future lay in the easier-to-drink Dolcetto and Barbera.  Ever since, it has stayed true to its ideals.  The 54 growers have to bring all of their Nebbiolo (from 105 ha) to the co-operative, which then vinifies the wines in the most traditional manner – no rotofermenters or barriques, for example, have ever been used here.  The Nebbiolo delle Langhe is pure declassified Barbaresco (from younger vines), and in good years the winery makes a range of nine single-vineyard wines which are given additional ageing, and qualify as Reserva-level wines.  The results are superb; unquestionably better than the wines of the DOC’s weaker private cellars as well as many unambitious négociant efforts.  They can be aged with confidence.

Until very recently, the co-operative equivalent in Barolo (Terre del Barolo) didn’t strive to match the ambitions of Produttori, though it was an intermittently useful source of own-label Barolo for overseas buyers, and offered some decent though unexceptional blends.  With 300 members and over 600 ha in production from 11 villages, though, it certainly qualified for Sleeping Beauty status.

Has its Prince finally arrived?  Has an awakening kiss been gently pressed on to Terre del Barolo’s lips?  Perhaps — though the prince in this case has returned from the dead.  He’s called ArnaldoRivera (written as one word).

The original Signor Rivera was the long-serving mayor of Castiglione Falletto who, in 1958, galvanised local growers into forming Terre del Barolo at a time when Fiat’s factory in Turin was draining the area’s manpower.  Around 15 years ago, those running the co-op realised that if they didn’t find a way to make great wines from the best of their members’ vineyards, then the next generation would begin to drift away and establish their own private cellars.  So in 2008, the cooperative launched a project under the ArnaldoRivera name featuring a single new pan-regional blend plus a cru wine series.  Different vineyard sites and enthusiastic growers were identified; a quality charter was drawn up, and winery investments made.  It’s been almost a decade in the making, but just over a month ago the new range was launched featuring the outstanding 2013 vintage, and including rarities like wines from a single site in Grinzano Cavour and a Rocche di Castiglione. In general, skin-contact times are a little shorter than at Produttori, and there is some discreet use of new oak (tonneaux rather than barriques) for most of the crus.  The range also includes a white Nascetta from Novello, as well as a single-vineyard Diano d’Alba Dolcetto and a Valdisera Barbera d’Alba.

I recently had the chance to taste both this range of cru Baroli and some of the recent Produttori releases in a single June day: notes follow.  There are some great Langhe classics here – and they’re wines we can afford.      

Tasting Produttori del Barbaresco

Produttori del Barbaresco, Langhe Nebbiolo 2015

A pale Nebbiolo with drifting strawberry and red cherry scents.  After that aromatic prettiness, its light yet firm structure, savoury qualities and impressive concentration are startling: a complete wine, with more power and grip than many higher priced bottles.  90

Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco 2014

There are around a quarter of a million bottles of this, the co-op’s flagship wine; it gets around 35 days’ maceration time, and spends two years in large oak botte.  In 2014, moreover, Barbaresco growers experienced just one-third of the rain which fell in Barolo in the same vintage.  Plump, bright black fruits and a firm, pure and lively palate in which once again black fruits take the lead.  90 

Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco 2013

Although it‘s now sold out at the cellar door, this lovely vintage is generally available on export markets.  Deep though translucent in colour, with elegant, articulate aromas of teasing fruits and warm earth.  Elegant, sappy, brisk wine with an arresting elemental appeal to it.  Pure, dry redcurrant fruits and plenty of textural wealth despite its grace and charm: classic Barbaresco.  92

Produttori del Barbaresco, Asili, Barbaresco Riserva 2013

From one of the top crus of Barbaresco, though one with multiple aspects.  Warm and generous scents, yet gently flower-perfumed, too.  Ample, generous, lush and soft in the mouth, with almost feathery tannins; teased ripeness.  Great harmony and charm here.  93

Produttori del Barbaresco, Montefico, Barbaresco Riserva 2013

From a south-facing site, but one which acts as a corridor for winds from the river which head towards Neive, giving it zest and precision as well as ripeness and wealth.  Bright, pristine, fresh and elegant at first, then with hidden generosity of apple and plum fruits in the mid-palate, dropping away to an exuberant, stylish, engaging finish. 93

Produttori del Barbaresco, Rabajà, Barbaresco Riserva 2013

Rabajà is often considered as potentially the greatest Barbaresco site of all: a long, sinuous ridge line which begins with a roasted amphitheatre above Martinenga; limestone percentages in the marly soils vary here to great effect.  This wine has up to 45 days with its skins held as a submerged cap before three years in large wood and a further years’ storage in bottle.  Warm, vibrant, harmonious and well-rounded aromas; exuberant, resonant flavours of currants, earth, undergrowth and wild mushroom.  Round, soft and complete on the finish: a glorious drink.  94

Tasting ArnaldoRivera

ArnaldoRivera, Undici, Barolo 2013

This is the multi-cru blend named after the eleven (‘undici’) villages and from no fewer than 54 individual sites; there are 50,000 bottles of this wine in 2013.  A deep blood-red in colour, with soft tobacco warmth and glowing plum scents.  In the mouth, the wine is concentrated, vivid and long, with a rousing acid-tannin complex filled out with dense fruits.  An impressive statement of intent.  91

ArnaldoRivera, Castello in Grinzano Cavour, Barolo 2013

Grown on a single south-west facing vineyard of clay-rich marls at 250 m in this ‘satellite’ zone of Barolo, separated from the main body of the DOCG by a strip of Diano d’Alba land.  Light in colour, with dusty redcurrant scents and slender, elegant, light pomegranate and cranberry fruit on the palate.  89

ArnaldoRivera, Boiolo in La Morra, Barolo 2013

Grown in a SE-facing, clay-rich vineyard at 420 m, owned by the co-operative itself since 1999.  A clear deep red in colour, with scent of dried herbs, roses and kirsch cherries.  The palate opens softly and sweetly, then juicy acidity and cherry-bramble fruit become apparent over earthy tones and fine tannins.  91

ArnaldoRivera, Ravera in Novello, Barolo 2013

Grown in five different south-facing vineyards in this site of very limey marl, exposed to cool alpine winds.  Gothic rather than Romanesque: a rosebud scent and vivid, refined, tight-skirted flavours.  Brisk, pert.  90

ArnaldoRivera, Monvigliero in Verduno, Barolo 2013

A fine, intensely limey site of talc-like marl soils in the north of the region, and four separate south-facing vineyard sources averaging 250 m.  Very pale in colour, with refined scents of vellum, truffle and polished antique wood.  A charming, graceful, open-textured yet fine-textured wine with coffee, truffle and white mushroom notes.  Chiffon it may be, but it has width, depth and sumptuousness, too.  95

ArnaldoRivera, Bussia in Monforte d’Alba, Barolo 2013

From two different vineyards towards the southern end of this large, 300-ha cru: south-west-facing on relatively poor soils at an average of 410 m.  A dryer scent than its peers, recalling prunes and incense; very classy on the palate (flowers and incense woods) with plunging, sober, serious flavours.  92

ArnaldoRivera, Rocche di Castiglione in Castiglione Falletto, Barolo 2013

From a single, south-east-facing site belonging to the co-operative at 340 m in this astonishing vineyard, perched over cliffs, in the slightly sandier sector, and aged in large new French oak tonneaux.  Translucent, glowing red in colour, with scents which combine raspberry, bitter almond and the crystallised violet note typical of fine Cognac.  Pure, refined and sustained: a long high-wire walk, pure-fruited yet almondy, too.  The faintly bitter asperities add to the refreshing effect.  94 

ArnaldoRivera, Vignaronda in Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo 2013

From a single, south-facing site in this great cru of intensely limey marls, also aged in large new French oak tonneaux.  Note, though, that in this case the vines were only planted in 2003.  Clear and bright in colour, with scents which may remind you of fenugreek, dark berry fruits and wet earth; an enveloping palate of bright, lively fruits with a little more of that Indian spice.  91

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Armagnac: The beautiful, high-class brandy steeped in history and tradition

Nick Hammond visits the land of musketeers, bullfighting, foie gras and canard, where Armagnac is painstakingly crafted just as it has been for hundreds of years.



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Sleepy Blonde d’Aquitaine cows, beefy in every respect, chew the cud. A bull stands sentinel among them, his great muscled flanks shivering at the occasional tickle of a fly. In the farmyard behind, scurrying sorties of souris pour like mercury along the calving-shed drains and the air purrs with the soporific murmur of turtledoves.

I’m in Armagnac – both a region and a drink – and feasting on foie gras, farmland and secret stores of an ancient brandy, lovingly crafted across the rolling départment of the Gers.

It’s made as it was 700 years ago; distilled in fantastical copper alembic stills on wheels, which arrive in a travelling circus at the end of each harvest to steam and thunder in the oak-beamed and cobwebbed barns of 1,000 Gascon farms.

Farmhouse Armagnac is still very much alive and kicking, but there are also large producers with horizons of manicured vineyards and space-age processing facilities. That’s the beauty of the region and its amber gold – there is a lifetime of personalities here to explore.

‘Each is unique,’ promises Amanda Garnham, an expatriate ‘gone native’, who lives in a rambling Gascon farmhouse of her own, along with her family, assorted guests and a meadow menagerie of beasts. She’s the Attachée de Presse for the Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac and runs Glamour and Gumboots, offering bespoke tours of the area’s rich food, drink culture and countryside.

Picture: Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l'Armagnac‘From the chosen types of grape, through the terroir, to the distillation methods and ageing, each Armagnac is specific to its time and place,’ she explains.

‘There is nothing quite like it.’

In the stygian gloom of the dusty Paradis at Delord, giant glass bonbonnes of ancient liquid sit impassively through the years. They are the last vestiges of Armagnac from generations past.

It’s a moving experience to step reverently among these ghosts, with their crudely attached wooden date labels displaying the liquid summation of a lifetime’s work. I blow the dust from a half-filled jar of 1942. What human endeavour did it take to create this precious liquid in a time of such tumult?

Picture: Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l'ArmagnacDelord Armagnac rings with signature sweet fruit notes of bananas and candied orange, nuts and plump prunes. Gascon prunes, figs, pumpkins, walnuts and kiwis grow in abundance. Magnolia trees line the drive to Château de Bordeneuve, where I wait in the sigh of the blossoming acacias for the arrival of Thomas Guasch. It’s announced by the bounce of his disconcertingly large Alsatians, but, thankfully, they’re intent on chasing sticks and not vineyard visitors. Some of the Baco grapes here have been nipped this week by a late-season frost. Thomas gives a Gallic shrug – c’est la vie.

Later, he proudly displays his permanent 1920s alembic, which rumbles 24 hours a day during an intensive distilling period that might run from October to March. A 1966 vintage – too popular in England, where it’s drunk to toast the sporting success of that year – spills creamy salted caramel across the palate. There’s an ice cream-like 20 year old and an ethereal bottle from 1924; rich, deep, truffly and darkly alluring.

Most Armagnacs are single-distilled, some double. All are made in the column stills of the alembic, unlike the pot stills of Cognac. Wines are distilled and aged separately in French-oak barrels and finally combined in the bottling. In this part of the world, every few hundred yards, you’ll find a sign pointing you to yet another Armagnac adventure. A teetotal driver is a must.

Three distinct regions produce Armagnac: Bas Armagnac, Armagnac-Ténarèze and Haut-Armagnac. They are all refreshingly affordable. Great bottles are available at a fraction of the expense of their Cognac and Scotch brethren; a cracking vintage from the year of my birthdate – not that long ago, of course – can be found for less than €100. More recent productions, even of VSOP or XO aging, can be picked up for about €30.

As she prepares freshly picked white asparagus in her sunny kitchen, the cultured septuagenarian Claire de Montesquiou affectionately teases her husband, Jean-Louis. He just smiles and uncorks the domaine’s own Cuvée Rosée, created since the couple bought an overgrown hillside in Bas-Armagnac and began both wine and Armagnac production under the name Domaine D’Espérance. These Armagnacs – zesty, spicy and loaded with nuts and raisins – have won international acclaim and Claire bottles for several well-known private labels.

There is an abundance of producers here, such as Château de Laubade, where quirky sculptures scatter the grounds, oriental gables abound and a gloriously garish French library offers a tasting of a complex 1985 vintage with notes of an Islay malt.

At Domaine du Tariquet, rows of symmetrical vines, stretched across the hillside, greet visitors, every inch pristine and well tended. The processing facilities are utilised to make both wine and Armagnac and, although they may be modern, Tariquet is no newcomer to Armagnac alchemy – the Grassa family has been making it for generations and its VSOP and XO burst with custard and burnt orange.

The surroundings at Janneau are more prosaic, but the Armagnac is anything but. From a range that runs from entry level to serious enthusiast, the VSOP has an extraordinary cinder-toffee note and the 25 year old has a sudden and unexpected pop of bubblegum.

At Marquis de Montesquiou, there is a purpose-built ‘cathedral’ to Armagnac, piled high with locally made barrels and giant casks for blending. Bees throng a narrow stretch of grassland at Armagnac Castarède – organic methods are encouraged here and these plants will be ploughed back in, ready for new vines, once flowering is over. The Armagnacs, served in the ancient château, are extraordinary.

CREDIT: Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l’Armgnac.

Back with the Aquitaine bull, who’s led his ladies into the buttercup-strewn pasture, I enjoy a conversation-stopping Château de Pellehaut vintage from 1973. This family business is half winery, half cattle farm, with the lucky bovines dining on grape mash and fresh sward.

It’s just another in a long line of examples proving there’s nothing quite like Armagnac. It’s authentic, it’s very, very French and you need to taste it right here, in the heartland where it’s made – the very essence of this timeless land in the shadow of the Pyrenees.


Beginner’s Guide To Cognac

It is now nearly three centuries since the ‘connoisseurs’ – all right, aristocratic drunks – of fashionable London decided that…

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Toulouse wine tour: Explore nearby wineries in Gaillac

Just an hour’s drive to visit these producers…

Toulouse wine tour, Domaine Rotier
Domaine Rotier

Toulouse wine tour: Exploring Gaillac in south-west France

Fact file

Planted area (AP) 3,300ha
Production 150,000hl
Main grape varieties Red: Braucol, White: Mauzac
Rare grapes varieties Red: Duras, Prunelard, White: Loin de l’Oeil, Ondenc, Verdanel
Producers 108
Co-ops Two

The vineyards of Gaillac are just an hour from Toulouse, and have been transformed by a new wave of younger winemakers.

Gone are the days of rustic, tannic reds and old fashioned, oxidative whites, and quality is on a steep upward curve, so hopefully we will see more of the crafted, individual wines from this area in the near future.

Domaine Brin

One of the best producers is Damien Bonnet, who has taken over from his parents at Domaine Brin. This estate is focused on an organic and minimalist approach with great results for whites and reds (his sweet wines are also outstanding). Damien’s father is an avid collector of old cars, so expect to see him doing some maintenance when you visit.

Open Monday to Saturday (10am-12am / 2pm-6pm). Closed on Sundays and for bank holidays.

Domaine du Moulin

Back towards Gaillac, drop in to the new tasting room at Domaine du Moulin, where sixth-generation winemaker Nicolas Hirissou is challenging local traditions by planting Tannat vines to complement old-vine Syrah and Braucol (aka Fer Servadou) – the latter one of the main local red varieties.

Open from 9am to 12pm and from 2pm to 7pm. Closed only on Sundays in January, February and March.

Le domaine du moulin

Domaine du Moulin Credit: Domaine du Moulin

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Domaine Plageoles

One of Gaillac’s trump cards is the presence of several rare and exclusive grape varieties. Several have been saved from extinction through the efforts of Domaine Plageoles, which has promoted local terroir through a focus on single, ancient varieties. Visit here to taste the deeply coloured Prunelard (one of the parents of Malbec and unique to Gaillac), which accounts for 1% of red plantings but is growing rapidly. More recently, Plageoles resuscitated Verdanel, a long-lost white grape which only survived at a Montpellier vine library, and is also credited with rescuing Ondenc from extinction – although this variety is found outside Gaillac.

Opening 8am – 12pm and 2.30pm – 6.30pm. Monday to Saturday – Only on RV Sunday morning.

Domaine de la Ramaye

Domaine de la Ramaye. Credit: Domaine de la Ramaye

Domaine de la Ramaye

Gaillac has its fair share of radical winemakers, such as Michel Issaly of Domaine de la Ramaye . At this picturesque estate, the emphasis is on encouraging natural flora and fauna. The wines are thought-provoking as well as high quality. Top of the range is Le Vin de l’Oubli, a product of oxidation and ageing under flor.

Shop open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm. Visit only in the afternoon and by appointment. The domaine is closed on weekends and public holidays.

Domaine d’Escausses

Domaine d’Escausses is closer to Albi, off the main route between the city and the famous hilltop bastide of Cordes-sur-Ciel. At the attractive tasting room, try the méthode gaillacoise sparkling – an ancient form of fizz fermented in one bottle. The best wine here is La Vigne de l’Oubli, an oak-aged, Sauvignon dominated blend that can challenge top white Bordeaux.

Open 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 7pm.

Domaine Rotier

Visiting Domaine Rotier. Credit: Domaine Rotier

Domaine Rotier 

Over on the gravelly soils of the left bank (close to the A68 autoroute) is the consistently excellent Domaine Rotier, where Alain Rotier doesn’t put a foot wrong with any wines in the extensive line-up. He also has a very smart new visitor centre to explore.

Open 9 am – 12 pm, 2pm – 7pm ( 6pm from November to March), every day except on Sundays and holidays. Please call before visiting. 

Getting there: Gaillac is a one hour drive from Toulouse. Fly to Toulouse from London with British Airways, Ryanair or Easyjet, or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras.

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US-Justizminister soll Kontakte zu russischem Botschafter erklären – Tagesspiegel


US-Justizminister soll Kontakte zu russischem Botschafter erklären
heute 18:17 Uhr. Russland-Skandal um Präsident Trump : US-Justizminister soll Kontakte zu russischem Botschafter erklären. Möglicherweise hat die Regierung Trump von russischer Einflussnahme auf die Wahl voriges Jahr profitiert. Am Abend soll …
Warum die Aussage von US-Justizminister Sessions wichtig wirdSü
Voll auf Trumps LinieZEIT ONLINE
US-Justizminister muss im Senat mit harten Fragen rechnenDIE WELT
FOCUS Online –Wiener Zeitung –Bayerischer Rundfunk –Neue Zürcher Zeitung
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Trump wollte Einstellung von Flynn-Ermittlungen – DIE WELT


Trump wollte Einstellung von Flynn-Ermittlungen
Donald Trump hat einen Kandidaten für das Amt des FBI-Chef nominiert: Christopher Wray. Sein Vorgänger, James Comey, bestätigte, dass Trump die Ermittlungen zu möglichen Russland-Kontakten einstellen wollte. Quelle: N24. Es wird eng für den …
Trump soll Einstellung von Flynn-Ermittlungen verlangt habenZEIT ONLINE
Comey: Trump wollte Einstellung von Flynn-ErmittlungenSTERN
Comey bekräftigt Vorwürfe gegen TrumpSPIEGEL ONLINE
FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung –Sü –Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung –Ruhr Nachrichten
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USA – Eine weitere irre Woche im Leben des Donald J. Trump – Sü


USA – Eine weitere irre Woche im Leben des Donald J. Trump
FBI-Chef entlassen, Geheimnisse an Russland verraten: Nach Chaos-Tagen im Weißen Haus startet Trump heute zu seiner ersten Auslandsreise als US-Präsident. Die Probleme in Washington reisen mit. Analyse von Thorsten Denkler, New York. Im Kopf …
Trump will Comey nicht zu Ende von Flynn-Untersuchung gedrängt habenFAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Donald Trump über Russland-Untersuchung: Sonderermittler schädlich für USASPIEGEL ONLINE
Trump tritt gegen gefeuerten FBI-Chef nach | „Seine Leistung war wirklich schwach“BILD
Bayerischer Rundfunk –Huffington Post Deutschland –FOCUS Online –ZEIT ONLINE
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„New York Times“: Donald Trump bat FBI um Stopp unliebsamer Russland-Ermittlungen – DIE WELT


„New York Times“: Donald Trump bat FBI um Stopp unliebsamer Russland-Ermittlungen
Eine Gesprächsnotiz des Ex-FBI-Direktors James Comey bringt neues Wasser auf die Mühlen der Trump-Kritiker. Danach soll Trump gebeten haben, Ermittlungen gegen den damaligen Sicherheitsberater Flynn einzustellen. Quelle: N24. Trump hat laut „New …
Belastendes Comey-Memo: Trump soll Einstellung von Ermittlungen gefordert habenTagesspiegel
Donald Trump soll James Comey gebeten haben, Ermittlungen zu beendenSPIEGEL ONLINE
Versuchte Einflussnahme auf das FBI – Trump ist sich selbst der schlimmste FeindSü –ZEIT ONLINE –FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung –Handelsblatt
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