Our 2022 AGM was held at the end of September at Gaillac (Tarn), in the pleasant surroundings of the Hôtel Restaurant La Verrerie and was followed by an enjoyable lunch. Committee member Christopher Boddington, who made the arrangements for us, took us that morning to the splendid 12th-century Château de Mayragues (enlarged in the 17th), a monument historique close by the bastide of Castelnau-de-Montmiral and complete with chemin de ronde en encorbellement. Once a ruin and now lovingly restored, it was in 1998 awarded the Grand prix des vieilles maisons françaises. There we were treated by Alan Geddes to a relaxed and informative tasting of the family’s biodynamic wines and several members who bought a case or two on the day have since reported favourably on their quality
The Association being in decent financial shape and with all office-holders in post until the 2023 AGM, the business side of the meeting was dispatched briskly. It was agreed to maintain the annual subscription at €10 and details of how this might be paid were included in the Minutes emailed to members. Outline arrangements for our 2023 programme will be discussed in November/December and members will then be canvassed for opinions/suggestions via the website and an email circular.
On September 20th, a group of members and friends numbering about 20 ventured into the Bergerac vineyards for a tour of the Château Feely biodynamic vineyard and a wine tasting conducted by the knowledgable student of viticulture and author, Caro, of the same name.
OUS visits normally conclude with a lunch and the group was delighted to enjoy both the magnificent view of Bergerac and its surrounding countryside and an excellent menu du jour provided by the Bistrot de Malfourat which adjoins the Michelin-star Tour des Vents. As usual old acquaintances were renewed and new ones formed in this congenial environment. Our thanks to John Perry, who arranged both visit and lunch with characteristically unobtrusive finesse.
The final OUS SW France visit for 2022 will be on 20 October to Château Feely, Saussignac followed by lunch at the Bistrot de Malfourat, Monbazillac. Members are invited to reply to Nigel’s invitation.
Chateau Feely (https://chateaufeely.com/) is renowned for its organic biodynamic wines. Caro Feely will be delighted to welcome us for the taster tour a one hour exploration of their vineyard.
Thanks to Chris Boddington, arrangements have been made for this year’s AGM to be held in Gaillac (81). Thursday 29 September 2022, 12h.00 for 12h.15 at the Hotel Restaurant La Verrerie, 1 Rue de l’égalité, 81600 Gaillac. Guests are also welcome.
Nigel has sent details to all members. Members are also reminded that the annual subscription for 2022–2023 is now due.
The final OUS SW France visit for 2022 will be on 20 October to Château Feely, followed by lunch at the Bistrot de Malfourat. Details will be circulated in early October.
The Bordeaux wine region is not short of chateaux, but few (any?) combine in a visit a tour of a finely restored building, a wine tasting and chai visit with an encounter with the life and work of an artist who captured the spirit of his age so graphically. A good twenty members, Cambridge alumni and friends took part on this 23rd June – and we enjoyed a good lunch too. Marion and Nigel are due generous thanks for arranging this visit, which was also excellent value for money.
In the gallery below, see the amphora being used experimentally to mature the blend. The chateau produces red, white and rosé, now under the etiquette ‘Toulouse-Lautrec’, as it was the chateau of Henri’s mother, Adèle. See too Henri’s childhood drawing hidden behind a door and a reproduction showing his fondness for red-heads, presented by the chateau’s own redhead.
Nigel has sent members details of our next excursion. Please contact us if you have not received these.
Château Malromé, first recorded in the sixteenth century, became in 1847 the joint property of Adolphe de Forcade La Roquette, Vice-President of the Council of State under Napoleon III, and his half-brother, Marshal Armand-Jacques Leroy de Saint-Arnaud, Governor of Paris and Minister for War. The two men were adepts of the fashion for interventionist restoration championed by Eugène Viollet-de-Duc (1814–1879), best known for his work at both Pierrefonds and Carcassonne andon Notre-Dame in Paris.
In 1883, Countess Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec née Adelaide Fergusson purchased the property from Forcade La Roquette’swidow. Her son, the painter Henri (b.1864), was a frequent visitor, dying at the château in September 1901.
Among later owners of the Château was Doctor Gabriel Seynat, adjoint of the postwar Mayor of Bordeaux, Jacques Chaban Delmas. The house and grounds have been extensively restored.
Our secretary has recently emailed members our proposed events for 2022. He writes: “An outline of possible future events was presented at the 2021 AGM held at Issigeac in September. Most of those had been repeatedly kicked down the road since 2019, courtesy of Covid. It is accordingly a pleasure to announce that we hope this year to stage some of them.”
Here is a brief summary (events are always followed by lunch):
Thursday 14 April, 12:00. Robert Taylor. Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at Queen’s College, will give a short pre-lunch talk entitled ‘Not All Wines Are French’ at the Restaurant l’Atelier, 24560 Issigeac. Subscriptions close on 23rd March.
Late June: Visit to Château Malromé (33490 St-André-des-Bois), home of Toulouse-Lautrec’s mother and the last home of Toulouse-Lautrec himself. He died there and is buried in the local churchyard..
Thursday 18August, 10:30: Morning tour of the biodynamic Château Feely (24240 Saussignac).
Mid-September: AGM in the Gaillac area (81).
Members are requested to pay their subscriptions at their earliest convenience.
Our secretary has been in contact with OUBC. Regrettably, it will not be possible to join them during their January 2022 training session, as they are currently planning to do their training elsewhere. They may return to Le Temple in future years.
The OUSWF Committee met informally this Tuesday (28th July) to discuss what, if anything, might be salvaged from the proposed 2020 events programme previewed on this site.
The consensus was that the planned October visit to Château Feely should now join the aborted May Gaillac visit and June tour of Château Malromé on a provisional programme for 2021. As and when we have the all-clear to firm up those events, details will, of course, be posted in the usual way.
Our Constitution, last revised in 2009, mandates the holding of an AGM ‘normally in the first fortnight of October’. The terms of our registration as an Association here in France oblige us to do the same.
In the light of ongoing uncertainties about the health crisis and the constraints currently in place on gatherings, it would not seem possible to hold a 2020 AGM along traditional lines.
What we propose to do is to hold in October an AGM attended solely by members of the current Committee. In mid-September we will send all members for online approval a copy of the reports of the Treasurer, Secretary, and Webmaster, together with the usual invitation to propose items for discussion at the now skeleton AGM. If there are any misgivings about this temporary extension of the remit of the committee and its officers, these will be addressed at the earliest opportunity.
Clearly, this solution will not satisfy all members, any more than it does the current Committee. If you wish to raise any questions before the September issue of the draft reports for AGM approval, please address these to the Hon. Secretary.