We welcome small family winemaker, Domaine Allegria, to the Princess and Bear family.
Our passion is to find and celebrate the highest quality, small family farms and winemakers in the Languedoc-Roussillon, a beautiful undiscovered region of France. Each year, when we return to the region after spending the winter with our family in the US, this passion is renewed and deepened.
This year, our first discovery was Domaine Allegria in the village of Caux. As is often the case, we learned about this small family domaine through another one of our winemakers — aka the Princess and Bear “grapevine” 😁.
Wine cave of Domaine Allegria
The estate was founded by Delphine d’Aboville and her husband Ghislan in collaboration with the family of legendary winemaker Roberto de la Mota of Argentina. Delphine and Ghislan excel at producing small quantities of handcrafted organic wines.
We filmed this brief video during our recent visit to Domaine Allegria, introducing Delphine and Ghislan and describing our process of finding new domaines:
“Allegria” means “joy” in Occitan, the medieval language of the Languedoc. The estate’s motto is “A hillside where life is good.” After visiting the vineyards and spending time with Delphine, Ghislan and their five children, we can attest to the truth of these descriptions!
Delphine d’Aboville with a box of wine in tow for our “tasting ramble.”
Delphine and Ghislan treated us to a special experience — a tasting ramble. We followed them from vineyard to vineyard, glasses in hand, pausing to taste each wine while overlooking the very plot where its grapes were harvested.
This small family farm covers 12 hectares (~30 acres). The soils relfect the incredible diversity of the region’s terroir, including deposits of enormous oyster shells dating back 1.5 million years. The shells impart minerality to Domaine Allegria’s exceptional white wine “Les Hautes Lumières.”
The Syrah vineyard lies on an ancient lava field on the slope of a dormant volcano. Both the ancient oyster shells and the basalt from the lava fields give unique minerality to the white and red wines of Domaine Allegria.
The estate’s terroir is influenced by both the igneous rock of an ancient lava field (left) and deposits of massive oyster shells (middle). The shells impart minerality to Domaine Allegria’s white wine (right).
Our tasting ramble was followed by a farm-fresh lunch at the home of Delphine and Ghislan. We were surprised and delighted when Delphine grilled duck breasts over the hearth in the living room.
Delphine preparing the hearth to grill duck breasts.
We left Domaine Allegria with full bellies and grateful hearts. This summer, we'll begin "spreading the joy" of their artisanal wines in the US!
In the meantime, stay tuned for more of our Languedoc adventures on the road and in the glass.
Delphine and Ghislan d’Aboville with their five children and two Great Pyrenees guard dogs.
Finally, our hearts are with the people of Ukraine during this extraordinarily difficult time. Like many of our Languedoc neighbors, we are sending support to the Ukrainians who remain in the country. Many of us have opened our homes to the refugees fleeing to the South of France. Our fervent hope is for peace and stability to return to the region and the people as soon as possible.
A votre santé,
Carol Bailey and Steve Medwell
Founders, Princess and The Bear Wines