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South by South-West

Our whistle-stop tour starting in Saumur, to the south west, onto the Languedoc then hopping over to Corsica.

At the start of each year buyer Marcel Orford-Williams spends around 10 days on the road visiting growers to source and blend the best newly released wines for members. Marcel tells us about why he makes this trip each year, some of the secrets behind blending our sparkling Saumur and Crémant de Loire, with allusions to Asterix and others along the way.

Marcel Orford-Williams

Marcel Orford-Williams
Senior Buyer

  • date May 2015
  • location France
  • people Marcel Orford-Williams
    Matthew Kirk
    Ewan Murray
Marcel Orford-Williams

On the road with Marcel Orford-Williams

Our buyer's odyssey from the Loire to Corsica via Sud-Ouest and the Midi to taste the new vintage and blend many of The Society's bestselling wines.

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Blending The Society's French Full Red

Blending The Society's French Full Red

Matthew Kirk joins Marcel in the Languedoc. He goes behind the scenes at the Cases de Pène Co-op to find out what goes into our French Full Red.

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The Route

Starting in Saumur, Marcel headed to the south west, onto the Languedoc and then hopped over to Corsica, finishing up in the Rhône.

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Truffle Dinner

Truffle Dinner

Second day on the road: five visits… 100 wines tasted… four hours driving between growers… and then a truffle dinner in Limoux.

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Chartreuse de Mougères

Chartreuse de Mougères

Matthew tells us about the history of winemaking at Chartreuse and the blending process, rounded off by lunch and two of the biggest steaks you've ever seen!

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Corsica l'Ile de Beauté - Part One

Corsica l'Ile de Beauté - Part one

Ewan finds out more about this jewel in the Mediterranean and its Italian cultural and viticultural routes and, sets to with Marcel to blend The Society's Corsican Rosé.

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Corsica l'Ile de Beauté - Part Two

Corsica l'Ile de Beauté - Part Two

A tortuous route up and over the Col de Teghime in the centre of Cap Corse to the winery of Antoine Arena. Next on to the picturesque port of Saint-Florent to meet Eric Poli of Clos Alivu.

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Corsica l'Ile de Beauté - Part Three

Corsica l'Ile de Beauté - Part Three

Sun sets on the Island of Beauty as Ewan and Marcel reach Domaine Alzipratu in the Corse-Calvi appellation with more opportunities to blend and find out about the local clay!

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Photo Gallery

More photos >

Related Articles & Guides

Find out more about Languedoc-Roussillon wines:

Languedoc wine guide >
Andrew Jefford: Moving to the region >

Background on blending

The importance of blending wines >

Find out more about the wines of south-west France:

Local heroes going native in south-west France >
What's so special about south-west France? >
Madiran: a votre sante >

Experience trips to other countries with our buying team

Salon des vins de Loire

Loire 2017

Salon des Vins de Loire

The annual Loire trade fair was an exciting opportunity for buyer Jo Locke and News & Content Editor Joanna Goodman to catch up with some of our producers - and discover a few new ones too.

View full trip
A tale of two trade fairs

Portugal 2017

A tale of two trade fairs

Joanna Locke MW on two terrific trade fairs in Porto and Lisbon, tips for tourists and updates on Vinho Verde, Bairrada and Dão.

View full trip
Travels In Wine - Piedmont 2015

Piedmont 2015

Perfect Piedmont

Protected by the Alps to the north and west and the Appennines to the south, Italy's north west is one of the wine world's most exciting regions. Paul and Janet try to get to grips with the Langhe, map Barolo, understand Barbaresco and round-up the latest Barolo vintages

View full trip
Provence 2017

Provence 2017

Pursuing pinks: two days in Provence

Forget fedoras and linens, if you're on a buying trip to Provence in January, you'd better pack your woollies!

View full trip

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