On the 17th of April, Perpignan – European City of Wine 2019 – welcomed the 7th edition of the Grenaches du Monde (the International Grenaches Competition).
The event was a great success, welcoming 869 samples from 6 different countries (France, Spain, Italy, USA, Chile and South Africa), and awarding 272 medals, including 177 gold medals and 95 silver medals. Judges gathered from across the world to Roussillon to judge for this great competition. Many wine influencers from Asia were present.
Out of the delegation of judges from this region, 5 judges from China were present: 4 of them are Champions 2018 of Team Best Young sommeliers: Feifei LIU – Chef Sommelier at The Middle House Shanghai – Ting Yu, Danni Wang and Yuxiang Feng – sommeliers at The Middle House Shanghai and winners of the Young Sommelier Competition – and Mr. Xin Sun – Jasper – and owner of Wine Universe.
These five representatives made China proud, judging for three days and meeting French wine and political personalities.
More than just judging, the Chinese judges visited wineries throughout their trip, lasting a total of 7 days.
On the first day, April 14th,
The delegation arrived in Perpignan airport at the beginning of the afternoon. In the evening, they met and had dinner with Eric Aracil, Export Manager and Deputy-Director of Roussillon Wines Council, Philippe Bourrier – Director of Roussillon Wines Council – and a group of distinguished judges for the contest at the restaurant le Grain de Folie.
On the second day, April 15th,
The delegation visited Domaine Madeloc in Banyuls Sur Mer with Mrs. Elise Gaillard. They then had a walking tour in Banyuls Sur Mer and Plage des Elmes. This busy morning was then concluded by lunch in restaurant La Littorine pairing Roussillon’s wonderful local food with wines from the region.
In the afternoon, the delegation participated in a walking tour of Collioure and visited the anchovy factory Desclaux, one of the oldest anchovy factories in the region. They then visited Château des Hospices with Mr. Benassis.
The second day was concluded with a delightful meal at the reputed restaurant La Villa Duflot in Perpignan, along with Yici Rigart from Vignerons Catalans, Roussillon’s largest cooperative winery.
On the third day, April 16th
The third day was just as captivating and busy. Our group of Chinese sommeliers visited Mas Becha with Mr. Perez. This was followed by a tour in the medieval village of Castelnou.
The group had lunch at Auberge du Domaine de Nidolères – Tresseres – with Ms. and Mr. Escudié and the group of judges. Following this, the delegation had a visit of Nadal Hainaut with Mrs. and Mr. Nadal.
In the evening, after a well-deserved rest, they went to the restaurant Le Divil (voted France’s best meat restaurant in 2018) with all of the judges of the competition.
On the fourth day, April 17th, the first day of the Grenaches du Monde
The 17th of April marked the first day of the Grenaches du Monde. From then on, the trip concentrated on the competition, with less visits being part of the program.
At 9:30 am, the competition began and judges from around the world tasted 869 different wines made from Grenaches. Following the competition, the delegation took part in an open-air tasting with all the wine growers of the “High Agly Valley”.
Arguably the most memorable part of the trip next took place. An unforgettable gala dinner was organized in the Palais des Rois de Majorque – the castle where the king of Majorca once lived. Upon entering the castle, the judges were welcomed by a live band in the King’s courtyard, followed by a dinner organized by Michelin starred chefs within the King’s dining hall.
On the fifth day, April 18th
The second day of tasting began more wines, more judging, more discovery.
Once the judging was over, the judges gather in Château Valmy and had lunch in front of the seaside.
To commemorate the end of the competition, the “Night of the Grenaches” was organized, where all participants attended, both judges and winemakers, with all of the wines entered in the competition presented for all to see. This marked the end of the competition, but not the end of our Chinese delegations trip. Roussillon Wines Council had organized even more them to discover.
On the sixth day, April 19th
The delegation had lunch in Café Vienne in the city center of Perpignan and then had VIP seats with the mayor of the city to view the religious procession in the streets of Perpignan.
Our delegation witnessed first hand this, historic, cultural and world-world-renowned religious celebration of Procession de la Sanch, where all the churches in the city celebrate Easter.
In the early evening, Mrs. Bourrier welcomed the delegation for a visit and dinner in Château de l’Ou. The long trip ended with a surprise and great honor for our delegation, where Roussillon wines proved its strong belief in their historic partnership with China and its sommelier. Sir Liu and Sir Sun have now been granted the title of Knights and Protectors of Roussillon, its wines and its lands. This great honor is not given often, and Roussillon has no doubt that these proud representatives of China and now of Roussillon will carry out their duties with passion and honor.
On the seventh day, April 20th
The trip ended on this day and our delegation returned to China having made discoveries within this land blessed by the gods and unforgettable memories, both participating in the Grenaches du Monde and visiting the wineries that make this beautiful region so unique.