Albas, Corbières, to the Domaine des Pensées Sauvages
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).
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
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.
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