Picpoul de Pinet versus Muscadet
4 days ago
Aspiran is a traditional wine village that was once famous for Clairette, a variety many of us would have tasted after some serious transformation into that noblest of vermouths Noilly Prat (recommended for cooking when anything originating from the sea is involved - I get through a couple of bottles a year). Today Aspiran has a co-operative on its last legs and a few, but gradually growing, band of independent vignerons. For some reason, perhaps the abundance of limestone and basalt based terroirs, quite a few vineyards are worked by growers from elsewhere.
The village even lends itself to a grape variety; Aspiran blanc, gris and noir. One of the oldest known in the Languedoc, pre phylloxera it was a major workhorse grape but most of it was gone by the 1950s. Also known as Ribeyrenc there's still some at Domaine Henry at St Georges d'Orques, Domaine Thierry Navarre at Roquebrun and Domaine de Centeilles in Minervois.
The owner Jean Paul was a vigneron in the Champagne region and sold up to presumably fulfil an ambition to create and run a wine bar. In a too narrow for vehicles central street what was once a shop has been totally renovated.
Original stonework has been exposed and cleaned. The entrance leads to three rooms with the bar in the back room. A small courtyard offers relief for smokers and atop an open spiral staircase is a delightful terrace.