Auberge du Vigneron Restaurant,
Cucugnan, with views of Queribus castle, Corbieres, Aude, Languedoc
Languedoc South France Restaurant of the Month (September 2012)
Auberge du Vigneron Restaurant, Cucugnan, Corbieres, near Cathar Chateaux of Queribus and Peyrepertuse
One of the must do outings in Languedoc is to see the castles at Queribus and Peyrepertuse in the high Corbieres. Nestled between them is the pretty village of Cucugnan, boasting not only a few good restaurants, but some excellent wineries. Needless to say the views are stunning all around. Here the grapes and the wine live up to their orchestral backround of gaunt rock faces, garrigue, and intense vineyards.
Walking into the village, going past the parking for the visitors, one finds the Auberge du Vigneron, part hotel and part restaurant. The entrance to the restaurant is on the lower level. One can eat inside next to giant wooden barrels on days when there is a chill in the air, or eat outside on the fabulous but smallish terrace that has commanding views where one can see the precipitous chateau of Queribus.
I was lucky to get a seat on the terrace - as its much sought after for dining. I took the cheapest menu at 21 euros, that does not include wine. I was happy to find one could order a pichet of wine, rather than being forced to buy a bottle often overpriced. The service was friendly ... but a little slow. Starter was a salad with duck meat - magret. The lettuce could have been a little fresher. It was salty, peppery, but tasty none the less. For main course I chose rabbit, with pasta, and mushrooms. It was lightly cooked as it should be - and was a bit difficult to prise the meat from the bone - which there were quite a few. It seemed to be missing something to elevate the taste. With menus its a challenge sometimes to get it right - where even on the cheapest menu one could have and should have glimpses of the cook pulling out an extra punch. The plate was sufficient, but it wasnt something to remember specially. My neighbour's Cassoulet on the other hand looked tasty with juicy beans, sausage, chicken, more. All the customers around seemed to be setting to with this dish, and it looked good. I was a little disappointed with the house wine - particularly in this terroir where the red wines even of the boxed variety are meaty.
For dessert, I had a nice but sim slice of chocolate cake, crowned with a raspberry, and a diadem of a flower taken from a mint plant. Looking again at my neighbour's table - I cursed myself for not taking cheese - as the cheese board was very tempting.
Coffee was excellent - so full marks for that.
A restaurant to return to!
Restaurant open Tuesday to Sunday
Annual closure of the Auberge du Vigneron
from Mid November to Mid February inclusive
View Auberge du Vigneron Restaurant, Cucugnan, near Queribus and Peyrepertuse, Corbieres, Languedoc in a larger map