The Wine of My Dreams

Running your own restaurant is a dream for many people and a job which I am fortunate to have and to love. However, having run the restaurant for 9 years, there was one thing missin …

This was to find a stunning wine, taste it on the ground it grows on (a Shirley Valentine moment) and import it to serve in the restaurant and tell it’s story. Well, this is it …

Back in June, I persuaded my husband that we needed a holiday and that maybe we could go to France for a week and do some wine tasting. He agreed and in an hour I had booked the flights, car hire and accommodation in SW France.

We flew from Bristol to Toulouse and picked up the hire car (there is a long story there ..) and drove to our bijou gite near Limoux in the Languedoc. It was very hot and we spent a lovely couple of days relaxing, pottering around deserted hilltop towns and eating all our meals outside on the terrace. We were surrounded by vineyards and it was very clear that this was an important wine producing area.

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The owner of the gite, Hal, had told us about several of the vineyards in the area that we should visit and mentioned one which was his favourite. We visited it the next day only to find the shop closed and nobody about. Meanwhile we visited another vineyard close by, which had its own restaurant and with stunning views across to the snow -capped Pyrenees. Coincidentally, I have only recently started buying wine from that place. (

However, on the Monday we set out for Hal’s favourite vineyard, Chateau Guilhem, and we were not to be disappointed. Beautifully kept vines, all organically grown, family run since 1878 and with a chateau – ticking all the boxes! We tasted most of their wines and Tristan spent over 2 hours with us, telling us all about the vines, production, storage and the family.


What about the wine? I hear you ask. Well, I can only say they are the best wines I have ever tasted (and I have tasted a lot) and that they will shortly be appearing on their own list at Clavelshay Barn to be enjoyed by my lovely customers and friends.


P.S. Roses are planted at the end of every row of vines as they can obviously show the first signs of any disease which the vines have and so can be quickly identified and treated.