The winemakers Domaine Rose & Paul had a stall this year at the food and wine market held during the Fête du Cassoulet in Castelnaudary. When we stopped at the stall the pleasant lady working on it explained that the Domaine is named after her husband’s grandparents, Rose and Paul.This seemed such a lovely idea that we decided to visit the Domaine in Arzens as it is open every day between 5.30pm and 7pm for wine tasting.
So on a warm August evening we drove through the countryside to the village of Arzens. It was the sort of evening that made me wonder why we would want to live anywhere else in the whole world apart from the Aude. And of course Arzens is a picture book pretty French village. When we drove into Domaine Rose & Paul two old boys were sitting outside its wine shop enjoying a glass in the evening sun. They stood up when we approached and told us that “La Patronne” would be there soon. In an attempt to make conversation I said what a pretty village Arzens is. Oh yes, said one of them modestly, but it’s very small. I wanted to ask him if he had lived there all his life and if it was where his family came from. Fortunately for him he was spared my inquisition as just then “La Patronne” Madame Foussat arrived, the same lady who had been on the stall in Castelnaudary.
She took us into the shop and we started a bout of wine tasting with explanations from Madame Foussat (who speaks good English) about each wine. Much as I enjoy drinking wine I know very little about it. But Madame Foussat’s descriptions were very clear and with her help we understood what we were tasting. Domaine Rose & Paul produces red, white and rosé wine but we were on a buying expedition for red. We bought some bottles of Malbec and Merlot together with a 5 litre box of Malepère which was only 15 euros.
The shop has a photograph album with some evocative old photographs in it, including ones of Rose and Paul. During the Second World War Paul was a prisoner of war in Bavaria for 5 years. While he was away Rose kept the vineyards going as well as bringing up their two children. Although the Foussat family have been cultivating their vineyards since 1750, the current owner, Gilles Foussat, decided to name the Domaine after his grandparents Rose and Paul. It was due to their tenacity that the Domaine survived to be passed on to the next generations.
Back in autumnal England I am still enjoying a glass or two every evening from the box of Malepère, and remembering those sunny vineyards in Arzens.
For lots of photos and information about the Domaine, have a look at the Domaine Rose et Paul website.