My wife and I recently traveled to the Languedoc region with two other couples as a long overdue reunion. While there we had the opportunity to participate in a one day, three hour wine education class at the wine school ("le vinecole") near Limoux. The vinecole is on the grounds of the beautiful Domaine Gayda, a winery that produces top notch wines. The school is run by Matthew Stubbs, a transplanted Brit, who has attained the certification of a wine master and educator. They offer multi day courses designed for those in the wine industry (sommeliers, etc) and also the occasional partial day courses designed for those, like us, who have an interest in wine outside of the business aspects of it. Our experience included a walking tour of the vineyards at Domaine Gayda and also of the winery itself. There were two other couples in our group for a total of ten "students". While on tour, Matthew explained the process of converting the grapes we could see on the vines (it was the start of harvest) into the finished products we enjoy. Following the tour we retired to the comfortable meeting room and Matthew conducted a wine tasting of eight different wines that were representative of the Languedoc region.
Our experience was very favorable. In fact, it was a highlight of our entire trip. Matthew has an easygoing yet very informative presentation style and also has an authoritative command of wines and the industry. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and the background look into the winemaking process. The wines chosen for the tasting were varied and included a sparkling wine, several whites, a rose and several reds from the area. The tasting portions were ample and allowed us to appreciate the nuances of each. Only one wine was from Domaine Gayda, although more could have been, so we did not feel that their wines were being promoted by the school.
Following the tasting, Matthew had made reservations for us at the highly recommended restaurant at the Domaine Gayda where we had an excellent meal and drank more wine (of course!) while enjoying the panoramic views of the vineyards and the foothills of the Pyrenees in the distance.
It was a great day! I would highly recommend you include a visit to le vinecole if you are planning a trip to the Languedoc. The school has an informative website and Matthew responds readily to inquiries by email.
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