A visit to Albas, Corbières, to the Domaine des Pensées Sauvages

Albas, Corbieres, Languedoc

On a warm March afternoon I drove from Narbonne, past the entrance to the beautiful abbey of Fontfroide, through Montseret, and turning up a steep picturesque winding road below the village of Fontjoncourse, and drove deep into the hills of the Corbières, towards Albas. My goal : Albas, a snug village, set next to a rippled edge of a hill, called locally the dinosaur's back (incidentally closeby dinosaurs eggs have been excavated - and is the place to visit for numerous dinosaur hunters and geologists).

Dinosaur's back, Albas, Languedoc

Albas is where Nick and Clare Bradford have made their home, worked hard on their vines and have created wonderful wines under the name of Domaine des Pensées Sauvages. A name in honour of Claude Lèvi-Strauss, who loves the wine, and reflects Nick's other interest - anthropology, which he taught at the University of Aberdeen.

First after enjoying a wonderful cup of tea, I took a look at Clare Bradford's Pottery - beautiful pots that are both restful and clear in concept and design. Each one made with love and concern for the beauty of form and color. A concern based on experiences learnt from art schools in England, seven years of study in India, and lessons of family life and the patience of growing fine vines

Nick Bradford pruning, Albas, Languedoc

We walked then to one of a number of vineyards that they own, this one on the brow of a windswept hill, next to a renovated windmill. Nick was finishing a day of hard back breaking pruning of old vines, that had grown low on the ground, due to the windy conditions. He smiled as he saw that this field was nearly done. As the day was coming to an end we walked back to the house at the centre of Albas, pointing as he walked the various vineyards he owned. He explained how he had fallen for Albas, after visiting India in the 1960s, and provided a balance between the Indian culture and that of England. He told me how he and Clare had lived in a number of houses in the village, and knew from conversing with the villagers a detailed living history of the village and surrounding land, that went beyond is interest as an anthropologist.

Whilst they were preparing for the evening dinner, I climbed a hill to a ruined mill that looked down on the now golden sun baked village. All around small cars were parked by the vineyards, as the vignerons finished their day's work or had come to check up on their vines after a day's work elsewhere.
Whilst eating a fish curry, that brought to Nick memories of India, their red corbières wine created the perfect partner. The wine was warm, clear, full of smooth but distinct flavor, a distinctive wine as only Domaine des Pensées Sauvages could make.

Nick and Clare Bradford
have now moved to Gers

This page is to say thanks for all the friendship, fine wine, and great pottery that Nick and Clare create

Clare Bradford's Pottery