Grower stories

Behind the scenes in Vinsobres: Domaine Jaume

The story behind the cover of spring 1874 magazine – celebrating our 150th year with a wine made specially for the occasion by a family domaine that has grown hand-in-hand with The Wine Society.

Cave Jaume

Each edition of 1874 magazine in our anniversary year features a special limited-edition range of wines put together especially for members to celebrate the history that they have helped to create.  The spring issue sees the launch of the second collection of wines in our Generation Series crafted in collaboration with winemakers handpicked to produce modern expressions of the wines and styles prevalent in the period from 1924 to 1974, put together by our buyers in collaboration with our winemakers to pay homage to a 50-year period in our history.

The Wine Society’s Generation Series Vinsobres 2021

France
Grenache Syrah
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Altitude and mountain breezes make Vinsobres the ideal place to source a Côte...
Price:£12.50 Bottle
Price:£150.00 Case of 12

Every bottle tells our story 

It was only really in the post-war period that our wine buyers started to travel properly, visiting the ‘principal winefields’, establishing relationships with winemakers and smaller family domaines, like the Jaume family.  

Wine was becoming a much less exclusive drink and as people started to travel more, the culture of drinking wine became much more widespread. That said, we were also living through recessionary times and our buyers were keen to source excellent-tasting wines that were also attractively affordable. 

Growing together 

It was John McClusky, Wine Society buyer at the time, who tracked down the Jaume family in the beautiful Provençal hilltop village of Vinsobres. John had read about the domaine in a book by Rhône specialist John Livingstone-Learmonth. McClusky was met by Nicole Jaume who showed him their wines. The domaine hadn’t exported before so when John asked if he could put in an order for 600 bottles, Nicole said she’d better fetch her husband Claude, who was out working in the vines. Nicole relates the story to Marcel in this short video clip.

Domaine Jaume and The Wine Society

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You can view this video on our YouTube channel here: www.youtube.com/watch?4tbrAg1q6L8.

They were anxious to commit to such a large order, but Nicole managed to persuade Claude to take the plunge. We are so glad they did, and members have enjoyed their fresh, joyfully fruity Côtes-du-Rhône wines ever since. They have grown over the years too, increasing the vineyard holdings, producing several different cuvées, including whites and being instrumental in gaining cru status for Vinsobres. 

Their two sons, Pascal and Richard, joined the business. Pascal and his wife Isabelle look after the vineyards and Richard and his wife oversee winemaking and the cellars. Now the next generation, Anthony, Vincent and Arthur are all involved too.

Marcel sharing a joke with Anthony, Arthur and Vincent Jaume
Marcel sharing a joke with Anthony, Arthur and Vincent Jaume

Now with Claude and Nicole’s grandchildren working at the domaine you’d think the couple would take a back seat, but when we visited to take the cover shot with them and Marcel earlier in the year, we were told that they still work every day either in the vineyard or the bottling hall. Claude is 89 this year and Nicole 86: a great advertisement for their wines!

A pioneering and collaborative spirit 

Rhône buyer Marcel Orford-Williams has worked with the family for many years, witnessing their development as wine producers and cementing the great working relationship started by his predecessors. He has also played a part in fashioning the wines that current Wine Society members continue to enjoy. When Aussie shiraz was starting to make considerable inroads into the affections of British wine drinkers in the early 90s, he decided to take some samples out to the Rhône to show producers there what they were competing against. 

The Jaumes facilitated this educational tasting by hiring a local hall and getting winemakers to come along. This was quite a radical step at the time, as many French wine growers barely drank their neighbours’ wines let alone anything from overseas!

Marcel shows Nicole and the Jaume's export manager around our cellars in Stevenage in 1991
Marcel shows Nicole and the Jaume's export manager around our cellars in Stevenage in 1991

A Provençal welcome 

Whenever Marcel visited the Jaumes, Nicole insisted on feeding him, and her delicious cooking has earned something of legendary status to those back in Stevenage. So, when we heard that Nicole wanted to make us  lunch on our visit for the photoshoot for our 1874 magazine, we were thrilled. Eager to share the joys of a Provençal kitchen with members (even though we can’t provide the homegrown produce from the garden), we asked Nicole if she could write out her recipes for you: 

Marcel with Nicole, Isabelle and Laurence Jaume
Marcel with Nicole, Isabelle and Laurence Jaume

Mamie Nicole’s Recipes

Aubergines Provençale à la tomate

Serves 6 
Start by making the tomato sauce: 

Coulis de Tomate à la Provençale (pour les aubergines)

Ingrédients: 

  • 2 kilos de tomate « roma » / 2 kg plum tomatoes
  • 1 gousse d’ail / clove of garlic, crushed
  • Sel & poivre / salt & pepper
  • De 1 bouquet basilic / bunch of fresh basil, torn
  • Huile d’olive / olive oil 

Préparation: 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC 
  2. Éplucher les tomates /skin then chop the tomatoes
  3. Faire réduire les tomates à la poêle jusqu’a obtention d’un coulis épais / cook in a pan until reduced to a thick sauce
  4. Ajouter l’ail, le basilic, le sel, le poivre et un peu d’huile d’olive / add the garlic, basil, a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper 

Aubergines 

Ingrédients

  • 4 aubergines
  • Coulis de tomate (fait maison) / homemade tomato coulis (see above)
  • Huile d’olive / olive oil
  • Sel & poivre / salt & pepper to taste
  • Parmesan

Préparation:

  1. Couper les aubergines en tranches fines / cut the aubergines into fine slices
  2. Faire frire les aubergines de chaque côté dans une poêle chaude avec très peu d’huile (une cuillère à soupe). Les aubergines doivent être dorées (10-15 min dans une poêle) / fry the aubergine slices in a hot pan with very little oil (roughly, a soup spoon) until golden (10-15 mins)
  3. Poser une couche d’aubergine puis recouvrir les aubergines avec du coulis de tomate dans un plat à gratin. Répéter l’opération 2 fois ou une fois de plus. / place the aubergines in a layer in a gratin dish, then cover with the coulis. Repeat so that you have 1 or 2 layers.
  4. Ajouter une fine couche de parmesan au-dessus / finish with a fine sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
  5. Faire gratiner le plat au four pendant 40 min à 170°C. / brown in the oven for 40 mins or so.

Joue de Porc façon Mamie Nicole (Mamie Nicole’s Pork cheeks)

Serves 6

Ingrédients:

Jaume pig cheek
Jaume pig cheek
  • 15 à 18 joues de porc / 15-18 pork cheeks
  • 1 échalote / 1 shallot, finely minced
  • Vin blanc / white wine, 1 small glass
  • Champignon « lactaire délicieux » /a handful of saffron milk cap or portobello mushrooms
  • Olives noires de Nyons / black olives, to taste
  • Sel & poivre / Salt & pepper
  • Thym & Laurie / A sprig of fresh thyme and bay leaf, tied to form a bouquet garni

Préparations:

  1. Faire revenir l’échalote dans un petit peu d’huile d’olive à la poêle à feu doux (l’échalote doit avoir un aspect fondu) / gently cook the shallot in a little oil over a low heat
  2. Ajouter les joues de porc et faire fondre doucement celles-ci afin de réduire l’eau au maximum de la viande. / add the pork cheeks to the pan and cook gently so that the liquid from the meat reduces down
  3. Ajouter du sel et du poivre / season with salt and pepper
  4. Mouiller avec un verre de vin blanc la viande / pour over the glass of white wine
  5. Faire mijoter pendant 15 min le plat / simmer for about 15 mins
  6. Ajouter les champignons égouttés / add the cleaned and drained mushrooms
  7. Ajouter les olives noires de Nyons / add the olives
  8. Ajouter un bouquet garni de thym et de Laurier / add the thyme and bay leaf
  9. Laisser mijoter a couvert pendant 2 heures à feu doux / cover and simmer on a low heat for 2 hours

>>Discover Domaine Jaume wines 

>>Discover more about this period in The Wine Society’s history 

Joanna Goodman

Senior Editor

Joanna Goodman

Part of our Marketing Team for over 30 years, Jo has been editor of Society News for much of that time as well as contributing to our many other communications.

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