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Julien Braud

Julien Braud

There are few advantages to an air traffic controllers strike. Indeed, now that I have suggested the possibility, I imagine you are struggling to think if there can really be any advantages at all. But I am sure you can think of something. Missing out on a visit to your least-favourite group of in-laws, perhaps?

I had just pulled off the autoroute, heading in the direction of Nantes Atlantique Airport, when the text message informing me my flight had been cancelled set my mobile phone abuzz. I groaned, but immediately began the search for the silver lining. I identified two good candidates. First, a delay at the end of a trip is never as bad as a delay at the start of a trip, which only leads to cancelled appointments and missed tasting opportunities. Second, having hurriedly booked the next available flight (in three days’ time), I now had the weekend to explore Muscadet country. First, though, came a few organisational tasks. I needed to extend my car hire by a few days. And I needed to find somewhere to stay.

This was how the next morning I came to be sitting, not quite alone, in the breakfast room at Domaine Fief aux Dames. Accompanying me was the proprietor, Daniel Braud, a gruff-voiced but friendly old soul. A fifth-generation vigneron, I thought he might be eager to tell me of his family’s history, their extensive vineyard – the source of the delicious grape juice I was drinking – and of course his wines, but Daniel was more interested in looking forward rather than back.

“You should meet my son, Julien”, he told me.

Julien Braud

It has taken me a year or two to get around to it (that’s pandemics for you), but ultimately that is exactly what I did.

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