Those of us who are within easy reach of Clermont l’Hérault are spoilt in having access to one of the best wine shops in the Languedoc – Au Fil du Vin – on the main esplanade of the town. Mokhsene Diouf is a charming Senegalese with a devastating smile and an astute palate. He is also a close and attentive follower of the Languedoc wine producers and invariably a good source of new discoveries. The first time we visited his shop, we popped in for a bottle of rosé for lunch, and emerged half an hour later with two cases of wine for our house warming party. We have been regular customers ever since and have never been disappointed in his selection.
Wednesday is market day in Clermont l’Hérault and a visit to Mokhsene after the market has become something of a ritual. He is always generous with offering a taste of a new wine and yesterday was no exception. Our aperitif was a glass of Domaine de Fabregues, Vin de Pays d’Oc l’Orée, a blend of Clairette and Grenache Blanc. The nose was delicate, and palate nicely rounded, with some intriguing notes of white fruit in an understated way – Clairette never packs a punch of flavour – and there was a touch of ripeness, rather than sweetness, on the finish. It was beautifully harmonious – and just 6.00€ a bottle. It was to be said that Mokhsene is the consummate salesman, in the nicest possible way – inevitably we came away with some bottles.
He has now turned part of his shop into a wine bar, offering tapas as well as wine by the glass and bottle, and with the arrival of summer, has taken over his part of the esplanade in front of the shop, so that you can now sip your wine under the shade of the large plane trees.