***‘Après La Pluie, Le Beau Temps’: the sunshine after the rain. ***
The story behind this grenache rosé carries a note of triumph. Behind it is Katie Jones, owner of Domaine Jones, a winery on the border of Languedoc and Roussillon in south-west France.
Katie is a Francophile from Leicestershire who appears to be living the dream – my dream anyway. For more than 10 years she worked as a wine exporter for the Fitou AOC region, until one day she stumbled across a small area of vines for sale in the picturesque Maury Valley.
Seeing an opportunity too good to miss, Katie took a bold move. She quit her job and swapped her business suit for workwear and wellies. With the help of a wine consultant, since 2009 she has been producing wines that top reviewers and the wine press are now raving about.
Yet the dream very nearly turned into a nightmare. Earlier this year, vandals (possibly mindless idiots, possibly small-town xenophobes – no-one is quite sure) destroyed Katie’s entire 2012 white vintage by turning on the taps in her winery, voiding the lot down the drain.
To put in all that work – to carefully tend the vines for a whole year, to harvest and press the grapes and be about ready for bottling, only for someone to destroy the lot, must have been simply sickening. And that's before you even begin to consider the financial implications of it all.
Katie rallied and, with help from a handful of sympathetic winegrowers, was able to produce a ‘recovery range’, of which Après La Pluie (a delicious, pale pink, fruity rosé from a spot close to Montpellier) is the first, in a bid to recoup some of her losses.
But the triumph proper was yet to come. The vandalism story made headlines across the UK press, and online wine retailer Naked Wines was moved to launch a sales campaign, appealing to its customers to help Katie by buying a ‘rescue pack’ of three wines – a bottle of Katie’s Fitou, plus two Corbières provided by a neighbouring winemaker.
Naked Wines calculated that it needed 1,000 of its customers to buy the wines to get Domain Jones back on track. In May, it reported that 2,500 of its subscribers had come forward, pre-ordering 30,000 bottles of wine in just 48 hours.
Après La Pluie, Le Beau Temps: the label says it all. Give it a try one of these summer days, and perhaps sample Katie’s award-winning Fitou while you're at it - whilst there are still a few bottles left.
**Where to buy:** Après La Pluie, Le Beau Temps, priced at £9.50, is available from The House Wine. For more information on Katie's wines at Domaine Jones, visit: http://domainejones.fr
**Written by:** Darren Smith