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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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route

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

Spain 2016

Spain 2016

Buyer Pierre Mansour makes a pilgrimage to Spain, to visit one of the country's oldest but least known wine regions, before returning with Trainee Buyer Freddy Bulmer to try some exclusive and very special blends.

View full trip
Blending Three Choirs

England 2016

Blending Three Choirs

English wines are increasingly valued by members and we are lucky enough to have exclusive blends from long-time producers, Three Choirs. So what better place to start learning about blending wines than on our own shores with some master blenders?

View full trip
Cape Expectations

South Africa 2016: Part 2

The Cape in a new light

A new generation has brought a new energy to the Cape's winelands, making this not just one of the most beautiful regions to visit, but also one of the most exciting.

View full trip

Champagne 2015

The Pull of Pol

Buyer Pierre Mansour and head of copy Paul Trelford visit Champagne house Pol Roger, ‘the world’s most drinkable address’ and find out more about the importance of ageing and the date of disgorgement.

View full trip

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