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Michelin 2008: Pascal Borrel uses his cuisine to promote wine


La Maison du Terroir”, in Maury (66)

Pascal Borrell uses his cuisine
to promote wineMaury was until now, and will perhaps remainfor a long time still, the name of an appellation that produces sun-filled, fortified wines, whose generous character has often led sommeliers to recommend matching them with chocolate desserts.But today, this small village in the Roussillon area, tucked between Corbières to the north and the Pyrenees to the south, must share its reputation with a restaurant that has become a reference. Sharing this renown actually constituted the aim of the local council when it decided to bring together in the same premises a cellar for retailing wines produced in the locality, a display of regional produce, a tourist information centre and a restaurant. This was at the beginning of 2000 and the ambitious project represented an investment of 1.5 million Euros.
A considerable sum and perhaps too much for this small village, but Maury worked hard on its plan and eventually obtained grants that were vital for carrying through this project, particularly from European institutions.
Construction work began at the beginning of 2006 and was completed in time to welcome the first customers just before the following summer.

Winegrowers were the first customers

On the inaugural day, Pascal Borrell was in command of the kitchens. He is a native of this region; a staunch Catalan who was initially a journeyman who toured France. When he arrived in Maury his talent had already been acknowledged by Michelin inspectors. That was when he was working in Perpignan at the ‘Chapon Fin’ and the star awarded in 2001 was maintained until he left this restaurant at the end of 2005. But to respond to the invitation for bids launched by the local council in Maury, he set up a company and defended a gastronomic concept, whereas the initial idea was oriented more towards creating a wine bar.
His bid accepted, the chef invested the sum of 100 000 Euros, proving to what extent he truly believed in this venture.
He formed a team of eight employees and found Mathieu Tereins, a sommelier with previous experience of working in a leading restaurant. Trained in Savoie, Mathieu Tereins had also worked at ‘L’Oxalys’ in Val Thorens. “Before the restaurant opened,
I took some time to discover the estates whose wines we present in the sales cellar and in this way I immersed myself in the local area” Mathieu tells us. “I discovered that as well as their typical wine, robust and powerful, these winegrowers also make fruitier, easier-drinking wines. This provides me with a sufficient range, because sometimes matching the wine with food is not always easy. The chef works on recipes and then together we try to find the best wine. With lobster poached with herb-flavoured salt and served with a puree of curried kumquats, I chose Roc de Pane from Domaine Pouderoux, a 100% Grenache Blanc that has been matured for 12 months in barrels.”
This close collaboration enhances the wines of the twenty or so winegrowers associated with the success of this venture. Approximately one hundred of their wines are presented on the shelves set up in the bar and lounge area of the restaurant. Wines that can be chosen to accompany a meal (with low mark-up) and purchased afterwards at the estate’s price. “Winegrowers play fair with restaurant” and Pascal Borrell appreciates this. “For their personal or professional meals, they have adopted us. It’s a marvellous opportunity for them to be able to promote their wines during the course of a meal…”
The presence of this Michelin-starred chef provides professionals involved with ‘La Maison du Terroir’ with further reassurance that they really did make the right decision.

“The idea of a restaurant asserted itself naturally”

Bernard Rouby, winegrower and President of the Maury Winegrowers’ Association since 1984, has followed the development of this project closely. “As of 1994, we were considering tourism and had already raised the idea of associating, wine, gastronomy and our local area. We had to wait until 2002 for this project to progress. Winegrowers were rapidly consulted and two main themes resulted from this. More than a tasting room, it was the idea of a restaurant that naturally asserted itself, even though it was not foreseen in its current form. Then what caught our attention was the desire to create a location that would attract tourists, allowing them to have overall vision of the winegrowing area in one place...”
But, because there is always a but, the municipal aspect of this project led to restricting access to ‘La Maison du Terroir’ solely to winegrowers in the village of Maury who can present their wines here. “But we are 95% representative of the appellation.” The Maury winegrowers’ cooperative cellar and the 20 other independent cellars in the area are submitted to the same sales system. “Each winegrower pays a subscription of 300 to 600 Euros in order to ensure the management of his display rack and the presentation of his wine within ‘La Maison du Terroir’. He can present between 2 and 8 different wines and the retail price is the same as the cellar, increased by 10%.”
Everyone hopes for a good amount of sales to customers passing through the area and above all they count on the gastronomic ambience to promote their wines. “At ‘La Maison du Terroir’, we are working with customers who have the possibility of matching Pascal Borrell’s cuisine with our wines and this provides us with a rare opportunity to give an excellent presentation of our wines.”

Mathieu Tereins et Pascal Borrell

Bernard Rouby

Bernard Rouby en est certain, en ce lieu « l’appellation Maury marque les esprits. »

La Maison du Terroir,
Avenue Jean Jaurès
66460 Maury
Tél: 04 68 86 28 28