A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Alix David in her home at the Château de Terride. Alix is one of Gaillac’s female winemakers, and at the end of our chat she apologised for forgetting to offer me anything to drink. ‘Are you ‘en couple’?’ she asked. ‘Yes, I’m married.’ ‘Do you like braucol.’ I confirmed that I did indeed like wine made from this ancient variety of grape. ‘Take a bottle of this, then, and drink it with your wife on Saint Valentine’s Day.’
Alix proceeded to explain why this is wine for lovers. As you will see from the bottle, the label shows two faces in silhouette, Alix on the right, and her non-winemaking husband, Romain, on the left. On the other side of the label is a poem, ‘Ta main sur mon chemin,’ written by the artist Elizabeth Freund-Cazaubon in honour of Alix, Romain and the wine.
Last night, after pink champagne and strawberries, my wife and I enjoyed this romantic bottle with our Saint Valentine’s dinner chez nous.
Why was I interviewing Alix, and why have I placed two model dovecotes next to her wine?
I visited Château de Terride as part of my research for a project with internationally-acclaimed photographer Jon Davison. Our objective is to tell and show the complete story of France’s pigeonniers, inside out.
Alix is passionate about restoring these buildings which once provided pigeon meat for the table and pigeon manure to fertilise the vines. In 2016, she founded Les Z'elles Gaillacoises, a group of around 30 female winemakers. Each year, the ladies select a pigeonnier in urgent need of restoration and they auction some of their wine to raise money for the repair works.
This year’s auction and associated festivities takes place on the weekend of 11 and 12 June around a pigeonnier in the hamlet of Teulié near Gaillac.
At the end of our interview, I asked Alix why her association is for ladies only. I reflected on her answer while I was drinking her wine with my wife on Saint Valentine’s Day.