It is obvious that Odile and Yves have, once again, chosen a programme of great originality and variety for the Festival and that everyone who has not already booked should ring 04 6853 1000 or 06 22 34 22 81 and do so immediately. The next concert will be on Friday May 1t in the Espace Simone Ali in Ponteilla at 21h. It will be the otono Porteno Quartet playing Argentinean Tango.

The inauguration of the 6th Spring Festival in the Aspres. 

by Jane Mann 

On an afternoon heavy with dark grey rain-threatening clouds the streets of Trouillas were full of people. It was April 25th and the Fanfare Fanfarfelue were leading a “Ballade” from wine cellar to wine cellar. It began in the Cave Sanac (04 6889 8061) presided over by Madame Sanac. Bottles of their traditionally made wine were standing, open, on an up-turned barrel, glasses and plates of nibbly things arranged between them. The Sanac family have vineyards in St Genis des Fontaines, where the pebbly, sandy soil is perfect for the production of light and aromatic wines to be drunk young, and in Trouillas, where soil of limestone clay adds tannin to the wines and allows them to age gracefully. (Possibly why I live closer to Trouillas than St Genis.)
The Fanfare Fanfarfelue, dressed in a wild assortment of shocking pink, filled the sombre cellar with joyous music. Gloomy grey was left well outside and merry conviviality became the order of the afternoon.
The second Cellar was that of Domaine de la Pedrix (04 6853 1274). Virginie and Andre Gil, young and enthusiastic, welcomed us. A line of up-turned barrels invited much tasting and, once again, the band played on. According to Andre Gil “ Wine is an irreplaceable link between men, it incorporates the ultimate mystery and represents a sign of strong civilisation. To know how to drink wine is to know how to live together!” (It sounded better in French but you get the drift)
The final stop was Domaine Treloar (046895 0229). Copies of PO Life on the table announced an Anglophone connection and Jonathon Hesford and Rachel Treloar were there to greet us and offer tastings of their handcrafted wines made using New Zealand techniques as well as traditional local know-how.
The Fanfare band lead us finally to the Salle de Fetes where speeches were made, the programme announced and a large buffet dinner was served.
<img4750|left>Everyone was in fine good humour by the time they arrived at Chateau Mas Deu (04 6853 1166) for the main concert of the evening. Le Barber Shop Quartet. The performance started traditionally enough with songs sung in perfect harmony by Bruno Buijtenhuijs, Marie-Cecile Heraud, Isabelle Drault and Bernard Antigny. First impression was of highly talented singers, approaching middle age with a bit of a sense of humour.
Huge under-estimation. They were fantastic. Immensely talented, extremely funny, often a bit outrageous, they held the audience in the palm of their hands for a good couple of hours and finally, after three encores and a standing ovation, refused to sing any more.
A tasting of the excellent wines of Mas Deu followed. The only sadness, and a very real one, was that Claude Oliver’s father, a larger than life character, poet, wine maker and Catalan intellectual, passed away in February. Yves Grimens spoke movingly of how he would be missed and what a supporter of the Festival of the Aspres he had always been.


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