The word generous is often applied to people who produce delicious things to eat or drink; they have to be, I suppose, in order to promote their product. Winemakers are no exception: keen marketeers who can’t wait to give those of us from the cold North a taste of their liquid treasures. Once in a while however, you come across a level of generosity that is simply overwhelming. If you get the chance to visit Château La Roche-Pressac and taste Crystelle and Jean-Marc’s excellent côtes-de-castillon wine, be prepared for hospitality and kindness that go off the scale. When I phoned Crystelle to say that I was coming to buy a few bottles, I had planned to dine at a posh Saint Emilion eatery afterwards. “No point,” she told me, “what’s the use of paying a fortune to eat at a restaurant when you can eat chez-nous”. I accepted gratefully. This was my second time at Château La Roche-Pressac but even first-time visitors are treated like old friends. The Lirands came here relatively recently (2004 was their first vintage) after leaving their original careers in retailing. The wine is superb and, not benefiting from any grand cru classification, is excellent value (though the vines are only pip-spitting distance from their grand cru neighbours). We were treated to a wonderful dinner accompanied by a tasting of their wines: a white semillon and a fruity rosé (both marketed as ‘vins de table’ but in a different league to those screw-top bottom-shelf plonks at the supermarché), a light and tasty Merlot called La Rochecotte and two oaked castillon reds – La Roche-Pressac and its second wine Le Cadet. We went away very happy after buying a couple of cases of the 2005 vintage and made an easy vow to return soon. No charge for an unforgettable dinner, no surcharge for a full wine tasting, and we weren’t even allowed to help wash the dishes – wow.
Château La Roche-Pressac +33 (0)5 57 40 48 24