Winemaker Pierre Urbain of Domaine Mas Nuy is passionate about everything he does! (We have asked him to slow down on his big boy motorcycle!) While in surgical training 25+ years ago in Brussels, he was introduced to what became a lifelong love of wine and winemaking.
Pierre completed his oenological studies and, in 2005, found his piece of heaven in the Languedoc. He purchased vineyards high on the south-facing hills of Faugères: perfect schist soil, perfect sun, and perfect vineyards for catching the drying winds of both the mountains and Mediterranean Sea.
He uses all-natural fertilizers and, if needed, organic compounds to combat mildew. He harvests his grapes at night and in the very early morning, hand selects grapes, and uses simple winemaking techniques (which are actually the most sophisticated) to create fabulous wines expressive of the famous Faugères terroir.
This month we've paired Pierre's top white cuvée, 2015 La Catieda, with Jura Style Chicken and Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce. La Catieda is slightly oxidized from time in the world-famous Stockinger barrels. It pairs beautifully with cream sauces and the earthy morel mushroom which, even today, is harvested only in the wild.
Freedom of expression for winemakers in France? Really? Yes!! You'll find it in the Languedoc-Roussillon and it’s what makes our wines so unique. What's behind all this liberté? The designation—Pays d’Oc IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée).
Most appellations require strict adherence to traditional winemaking rules which include use of very limited grape varieties. But the Pays d’Oc IGP allows winemakers to choose from 58 grape varieties adapted to his or her own special terroir!!
Relaxing blending rules, allowing single varietal wines, and granting other forms of freedom for winemakers unleashes creativity, experimentation, and FABULOUS results in the wines!!
The Languedoc-Roussillon region is full of mavericks, artists, cowgirls and cowboys, who are unbound by tradition but grounded in over 3,000 years of winemaking wisdom in the region.
This freedom, plus the Mediterranean climate, variations in altitude, and different soil types, results in a rich selection of unique and delicious wines that express a strong sense of "terroir," the land where the grapes are grown.
In fact, when comparing wines from the same varietal grape but from different areas, you can clearly distinguish the terroir of each. This makes tasting these wines especially fun and interesting!
The domaine Les Terrasses De Gabrielle is owned by two Languedoc winemakers who exemplify this freedom of expression and exceptional quality. We are proud to carry their wines!
Olivier Pascal comes from generations of winemakers. He and his delightful, hardworking wife, Fabienne Los Huertos, tend the vineyards her family has owned for generations and work their creative magic in the cave where their small batch wines come to life.
In addition to the traditional Languedoc grape varieties: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan for reds and Vermentino and Viognier for whites, in 2009 they planted Counoise and Sangiovese grapes. More recently, they are experimenting with Greek Assyrtiko grapes, as global warming creeps into the Languedoc weather patterns.
Father's Day is just around the corner and we know you want to make Dad feel special! But before you buy him that 10 CD collection of Dixieland Jazz, we invite you to kick back and consider something simpler and sweeter.
One of the things we most appreciate about the Languedoc-Roussillon is the value people place on slowing down, coming together, and sharing a meal.
This Father's Day, why not create that joyful experience for Dad? You can still give him the CDs. But what he'll probably love most is being with you.
Below you'll find three delicious recipes for a special Father's Day meal.
A rich (even spicy!) red like
2016 La Jasse
A full-bodied white like
2014 Cuvée Sixtine
A silky, smooth red like
2016 La Dame
For an experience Dad can enjoy throughout the year, treat him to a Princess and Bear Wine Club Membership. With each quarterly shipment, he'll explore a rich variety of wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon, an area critics have called "the most exciting wine region of the whole of France."
Many of these vignerons have embraced organic, biodynamic, and chemical-free viticulture.
These wines are so unique, they're only available in the US through The Princess and The Bear.
Choose from our Amphora, Cathar, or Mediterranean collections.
Member benefits include:
Memberships start at $29/month
Our love of the undiscovered wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon is matched only by our love of the region itself.
We invite you to share in our ongoing adventure as we explore the beauty, history, and culture of the south of France. Meet the colorful personalities and innovative winemakers at the heart of the winemaking renaissance!
Last weekend our adventure took us to Camon, a fortress village also known as the Village of a Hundred Rose Bushes.
Ten years ago the mayor of Camon gifted every resident with a rose bush. To commemorate the gift, the town holds an annual Rose Festival showcasing roses of all shades and varieties. As we strolled ancient streets lined with colorful blossoms, classical music drifted from the cloister of an old abbey. This brief video offers a glimpse of our delightful visit to Camon. Gigi makes a guest appearance!
After the Festival of Roses, we toured the vineyards of one of our new winemakers, Philippe Girard of Domain Girard.
Philippe is a fourth generation winemaker. His vineyards are located in the Malepère appellation in the foothills of the Pyrenees and overlook the plain of Lauragais, the hills of Razès, and the medieval city of Carcassonne.
The vineyards are comprised of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. These are Continental grapes, more suitable for a cooler Atlantic climate, rather than the hotter Mediterranean conditions typical of much of the Languedoc.
Because of the change in altitude, the point at which a vineyard can flourish in this area ends abruptly. Philippe's vineyards are right on that boundary, giving him both ideal and unique terroir for making fabulous Languedoc wines. This photo captures the point at which the vineyards end and the other crops, such as grain, begin.
A sign near the Ariege border in the Malepère appellation that marks the altitude limit for cultivating productive vineyards.
The Bear (right) with fourth generation winemaker Philippe Girard of Domain Girard (left). We're thrilled to be bringing you Philippe's Pinot Noir and Chardonnay this June!
Each month we offer you a new pairing of a savory recipe with one of our extraordinary "undiscovered" wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon.
It's our way of saying merci for joining us on this adventure into a region rich in history, beauty, innovative winemakers, and culinary treasures.
This month we've paired a classic blend of white varietals, 2017 Eime De Vinhem, with a sumptuous Baked Halibut and Lemon Basil Aïoli recipe.
Halibut is in prime season until July, so enjoy the feast before it’s over!
2017 Eime De Vinhem
Occitan for "Love of Wine," Eime De Vinhem is a blend of Vermentino, Grenache Blanc, and Viognier. The vines are situated within the ‘garrigue,’ so rosemary, fennel, and thyme contribute to the aroma. Expresses pear and white flower blossoms in the nose. Rich and generous in the mouth. Incredibly drinkable!
with Lemon Basil Aïoli
Savor with Domaine Jougla
2017 Eime De Vinhem
Additional Paring Note: Eime De Vinhem also goes well with cheese and crackers, or Chilled Oysters on the Half Shell with Yuzu Mignonette.
As we've traveled the Languedoc-Roussillon in search of extraordinary winemakers, we've learned what it takes to create delicious, affordable, award-winning wines. (Reminder: our wine club is the easiest way for you to experience our discoveries).
When it comes to wine aging or "cellaring," both tradition and innovation are important.
The main materials used for wine aging vessels are concrete, stainless steel, and wood. Each material has unique properties which influence the wine.
Stainless steel is completely hermetic (airtight). And while this risks reducing the wine during winemaking, the airtight environment preserves flavors.Stainless steel is often used for young wines with good fruit-expression.
Wood and concrete have a higher porosity and permit micro-oxygenation, which enhances the wine's development. Roundness and mouthfeel are preserved with both of these materials.
We can all conjure up the romantic image of wine aging in wooden casks. But among some winemakers, wood, particularly oak, is a controversial material!
Both US and French winemakers use oak vessels for aging. But because of local farming practices, French oak grows more slowly than American oak. The result is a less porous wood that imparts a subtle oak complexity and "lifts" existing flavors.
By contrast, oak-aged American wines have been called "dominant" and "aggressive" by French winemakers. The battle rages on! (Try one of our delicious, oak-aged whites.)
Another approach to aging involves the amphora, an ancient shape used by the Romans for both aging and storage. The Romans used clay, but modern winemakers also use ceramic and wood.
The shape of the amphora is as important as the material. Before aging, the shape encourages circulation during fermentation which helps gently extract the flavors and some tannins from the grapes.
This summer the Princess and the Bear will welcome two wonderful new winemakers who use amphorae: Séverine Bourrier of Château de L’Ou and Stephane Yerle of Vila Voltaire. Stay tuned for their beautiful wines!
Does your Mom love truly delicious wine? At a great price? Organic and biodynamic? Fabulous wild terroir? Female winemakers? Of course she does!
Gift your Mother with an experience she can enjoy throughout the year—a Wine Club Membership from the Princess and the Bear. She'll explore a rich variety of wines from an area critics have called "the most exciting wine region of the whole of France."
Membership benefits include:
Quarterly curated shipments of hard-to-find artisanal wines from our Amphora, Cathar or Mediterranean collections
Live video Q&A events with winemakers, chefs, and sommeliers
Food pairing recipes and tasting notes from a Languedoc expert
Option of all red or all white
Free shipping and 15% off individual bottles from our shop — anytime
Memberships start at $29/month (billed quarterly)
After you've selected an Amphora, Cathar, or Mediterranean collection, enter your Mother's info on the Delivery/Shipping page. Select "Add a gift message or special instructions" to include a special message.
If you gift Mom a wine club membership, her first shipment will go out in June. But as a bonus, we're including an extra, early-ship bottle of 2017 La Diva Blanche (normally $36.99) which she'll receive toward the end of May.
La Diva Blanche has a rich complexity with notes of honey and fresh flowers and a subtle, elegant touch of oak. Heavenly!
This gorgeous Grenache Blanc was created by winemaker Lidewij van Wilgen of Terre des Dames. Lidewij is one of the women leading the winemaking renaissance in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, and is regarded as one of the top ‘Viticultrices’ by wine writer Jancis Robinson.
Choose from our Amphora, Cathar, or Mediterranean collections to receive quarterly curated shipments of hard-to-find, small batch, artisanal wines.
If you’re already a club member we have some exciting news for you below about our upcoming shipments—and please share the news about our wine club with friends who don’t know yet about The Princess and The Bear.
Our club is one of a kind. The Princess and The Bear is the only wine club focused exclusively on the Languedoc-Roussillon, described by wine critics as "the most exciting wine region of the whole of France."
In a recent New York Times piece, Eric Asimov highlighted the incredible wines of Languedoc and the importance of knowing the right winemakers. That's where we come in! Our wines are curated with the assistance of award-winning wine purveyors, Richard and Linda Neville. Richard also chooses wines for sampling for the famous European wine critic and wine writer, Jancis Robinson.
We also travel throughout the region, personally meeting winemakers and tasting hundreds of wines. The result — high caliber wines that are also affordable.
Each quarterly shipment from our Amphora, Cathar, and Mediterranean Collections includes tasting notes from a Languedoc sommelier and recipes for delicious food pairings.
Cathar and Mediterranean club members can boost their wine knowledge and ask questions during live video Q&A events with the Princess and the BearFounders, Carol and Steve, as well as guest sommeliers, winemakers, and chefs of the Languedoc region.
Once a year, our Mediterranean club members can attend an Invitation-Only wine tasting evening in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Carol and Steve are joined by their sommelier, chef, and other wine-loving friends for an unforgettable evening of wine, cuisine, and culture.
Our next club shipment will be extra special because we're introducing several exciting new winemakers. Here are two of these bright stars:
Séverine Bourrier of Domaine Château de l’Ou is one of the women winemakers who is fueling the Languedoc wine renaissance. Château de l’Ou was recently touted as "A Rising Star in the Roussillon" by wine critic, Jeb Dunnuck. Our June shipment will contain her Syrah, Infiniment de l’Ou 2016, which Jeb describes as a "broad, expansive and supple" cuvée that "drinks well right out of the gate."
Simon Coulshaw of Domaine des Trinités was drawn to the Languedoc because he felt its pockets of “terroir” offered a better opportunity to create extraordinary wines than the more commercial wine producing regions. Our June shipment will contain his wine, Trinités l’imaginaire with Rousanne. This is a rare orange wine that's full-bodied, clean and intense with flavors of almonds, pears, and honey.
What are you waiting for?! Join today and secure an Amphora, Cathar, or Mediterranean Collection in time for our June shipments.
Spring in the south of France, and the Languedoc-Roussillon, means a return of the light and the blossoming of spring herbs.
Wild rosemary, thyme, and fennel are part of the "garrigue," the rich vegetation which intermingles with the vines, lending beautifully complex flavors and aromas to the wines.
Spring also means a return to bright, crisp wines to accompany the fresh flavors of the warmer months.
Below you'll find two herb-influenced whites and a sparkling to welcome back the light!
Warning: this wine is incredibly drinkable! A classic blend of white varietals—Vermentino, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. The vines are situated within the ‘garrigue,’ so rosemary, fennel, and thyme contribute to the aroma. Expresses pear and blossom in the nose. Rich and generous in the mouth.
This white is created with Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Gros Manseng, Viognier and Sémillon. Quite a cast! The vines grow alongside rosemary, thyme, and fennel, lending an herbal touch. You'll also find nice citrus fruits with some tropical, fresh mango.
This top cuvée offers a smashing, and some say preferable, alternative to classic Champagne!
Delicate and fine bubbles, hints of buttery toasted biscuit, white flowers and a long finish. Perfect!
À votre santé,
The Princess and the Bear
Our quest to bring you the undiscovered wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France takes us throughout the region. We immerse ourselves in the rich history and beauty of the area and meet the colorful personalities and innovative winemakers at the heart of the winemaking renaissance.
Last weekend we visited one of our wineries, La Voûte du Verdus, a family-owned domaine located in the medieval town of St. Guilhem le Desert, an ancient commune officially designated as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France.
The vineyard was planted over 100 years ago and is managed by Guilhem Bonnet, a third-generation winemaker. You'll find two delicious La Voûte du Verdus wines toward the end of this post.
Here, the father, Guilhem Bonnet—who is a winemaker and the vineyard manager—shows the Bear newly planted Vermentino vines. At 3 years old, these grapes have just "come of age" for winemaking in a blend with grapes from older vines.
The vineyards of La Voûte du Verdus are situated in the appellation Terrasses du Larzac, considered one of the finest appellations in the Languedoc. Cooling winds from the Black Mountains keep the grapes from ripening too quickly. The longer grapes sit on the vine, the more complex the flavors. Complexity equals delicious. 😍
This top red cuvée is a beast! The Carignan is a true Mediterranean varietal, totally adapted to the climate. Together with Mourvèdre this is the heart of the blend. Syrah and Grenache Noir are like salt and pepper.
The result? A deep red wine with spicy and leather aromas in the nose, soft and silky tannins, and a long aftertaste without being heavy. So, so delicious!
Perfect with game, duck confit, and hard cheeses.
This is a Princess favorite!
This La Voûte du Verdus Blanc is equal parts Colombard and Grenache Blanc. The wine is deceptively pale in color because it carries very expressive fruit in the nose (green apple, lime). It has a fresh and acidic attack but is still round and full in character.
Excellent with seafood, chicken, prawns and goat cheeses.