It is somewhat ironic that I should discover a juice while in the heart of Bordeaux. I was staying at the beautiful Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, the third hotel from crystal company Lalique, located on a Grand Cru Classé vineyard in Bommes. During my stay I’d discovered that Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey’s Sauternes, as Sebastian Flyte suggested in Brideshead Revisted, is indeed “heaven with strawberries”, but, in search of something more refreshing I turned to the hotel mini-bar.
What I found was a little bottle labelled Unaju, a gently sparkling, very aromatic and surprisingly good drink using a mix of lemons harvested in Italy and organic verbena from the Maine-et-Loire Valley region of France. The whole range stretches from raspberry and marjoram to basil and strawberry – and everything is natural and organic, without dyes or preservatives.
The Bordeaux-based brand that makes Unaju, Manufacture Bordeaux, was founded in 2015 and has already grown to supply more than 350 outlets in France and abroad, including an e-store called Sud Corner, which sells seven flavours in both 25cl (€3.50) and 75cl (€6.95) bottles (as well as lots of other tempting foodie fare, from olive oil to honey to chocolates) and will ship internationally.
These juices would be an elegant non-alcoholic addition to a drinks party line-up. The Unaju staff suggest its Citron Menthe in a virgin mojito cocktail; Kiwi Safran with oysters; Abricot Thym with a chocolate dessert; and, my favourite, Citron Verveine to replace champagne as an aperitif. When it comes to an accompaniment to strawberries, however, I think Château Laufaurie-Peyraguey still has the edge.