Vineyard owner from south of France joins wine tasting guests at newly opened cafe in Great Bircham

Wine tasting at Bircham Stores, Great Bircham
Wine tasting at Bircham Stores, Great Bircham

It was a case of entente cordiale at Bircham Stores at Great Bircham as Mark Orton and his partner, Lynne, hosted a wine tasting in their newly-opened cafe.

The wines were supplied by award-winning vignerone, Alix Roque, who owns two vineyards in Languedoc in the South of France. Red and white wines from Mas D’Alezon and Domaine de Clovallon were well received by the guests at the Friday afternoon event.

Phil Liddell, sommelier at three rosette restaurant Titchwell Manor was among those who tried the wines. “It is great to get the opportunity to try some wines that don’t normally appear on restaurant wine lists,” he said. “There are some great biodynamic wines being produced and getting the chance to talk at length to the wine maker gives me a great insight and knowledge, which I can pass onto our guests at Titchwell.”

Alix Roque said that she had been prompted to visit Norfolk after reading a copy of the recently-published book Norfolk Table: One County, 20 Chefs. “Upon reading it, I was very impressed with the chefs’ relationship with the local producers,” she said. Her own wine is biodynamic and natural, meaning it is produced with no added chemicals, either in the maintenance of the vines or in the production of the wine. This makes it suitable for both people with allergies and vegans.

“I was overwhelmed to meet such fantastically welcoming people at the cafe. By the time some of the other cafe guests had joined the wine tasting towards the end of the afternoon, it was like a French cafe in there, lots of talk, some lovely cheese and of course, plenty of wine.”

Mark Orton, who supplied cheese and biscuits to accompany the wine, said he had been delighted to help build links between producers from Norfolk and the Languedoc.