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“Something from under the counter – a little Black Pig perhaps?”

Smooth, deliciously dark, traditional French red … (and guilty pleasure of the world’s top winemakers!)

Let me take you back quite a few years to a little bar in Saint-Émilio ... Would monsieur like a glass of the ‘Black Pig?’ The proprietor had whipped out a curious-looking bottle from under the counter – and poured into a tumbler. To the top. And I drank – to the bottom! What was this dark, delicious red?

“C’est Pigassou – our little secret” he said, pointing to the local winemakers dotted round the bar, enjoying the very same soft, juicy red after a long day’s work. Pigassou wasn’t on the wine list. Such a simple, easy-to-enjoy red was frowned upon in the home of great clarets. Yet the people who made them would rather unwind with the ‘Black Pig’ – trucked up from southern France. An eye opener for a young wine merchant!

I headed south in the my old van and bought some cases. Customers loved it. So did world No.1 wine writer Hugh Johnson:

“Pigassou is as French as a café accordion ... one of those ancient Mediterranean wines you seldom see in the UK ... and a considerable bargain.”

Precious little Pigassou is made and it’s not released every vintage. I’m delighted that we have some for our 50th anniversary. Deep black red in the glass (traditional French tumbler preferably). Fresh herb, and raspberry aromas and gently spiced, juicy black fruit flavours. Put on some Edith Piaf, break out the baguette and brie – and enjoy a delicious taste of old France.

Tony Laithwaite

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