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Princess and The Bear




 The Princess and The Bear
 The Princess and The Bear
 The Princess and The Bear

Founders Note: Printemps en France

We are thrilled to be back in France after a long absence, visiting family and friends stateside. The earth is alive and the vineyards are buzzing with activity.

The deep rural Languedoc region still has native trees and wild herbs and bushes and flowers, what we call the ‘garrigue’, interspersed among the miles and miles of vineyards. Wild foraging and bouquet gathering are constant weekend activities. First, it was the wild asparagus and iris.

Now it is the poppies and acacia trees blooming which make a beautiful base for beignet, or, in English, donuts.


The Bear has been out, foraging for borage flowers to garnish one of his masterful dishes, lime marinated daurade, ceviche style with the delicate Timut pepper. We drank our sparkling Crémant de Limoux with this and it was fabulous! 

Daurade carpaccio with Crémant de Limoux

We received the recipe from our friend Patricia Wells, the celebrated American chef and cookbook writer, who made this for us one day in her Paris apartment.  The recipe is below.

The first bud break in the vineyards is the most stunning, chartreuse green, with the tender leaves coming first and now the baby grapes have appeared.

Young grapes and the beautiful azure sky

The vines already display their inherent vigor by each one turning into a small bushy tree. This will, over the summer, necessitate several rounds of pruning to keep the vine under control, and so that the winemaker can get the yield that he or she is looking for. Bulk wines with little character often come from vineyards yielding up to 200 (even more) hectoliters per hectare. (A hectoliter is 26.4 gallons.) Even though higher yields are allowed in most appellations, our winemakers average somewhere around 40 hectoliters per hectare. They keep their yield low in order to make more concentrated wines with personality and character. Obviously, this results in many fewer bottles to sell, which is one of the reasons we are so amazed at the affordable prices, of our outstanding wines.

Busy planning an incredible event for October.

We are once again thrilled to be welcoming our Mediterranean club members to this region. It gives us an immense sense of joy for people to see this undiscovered gem, which exemplifies the concept of “luxe rural”, the profound luxury that comes from spending one’s time surrounded by the unpolluted and undisturbed beauty of nature in the authentic centuries-old rural lifestyle of France. Our friend Sarah Hargreaves has created a fabulous itinerary for our Mediterranean club members to get to know some of the jewels of the region.

We wish everyone a joyful spring and if you ever want to reach out to either of us individually here are our email addresses: &

À votre santé! 🥂

Carol Bailey and Steve Medwell
Founders, Princess and Bear Wines

Carpaccio de Daurade L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon  

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon’s Fish Capaccio Makes 4 servings  

When this beautiful and carefully seasoned carpaccio is on the menu at Robuchon’s Saint-Germain Atelier, it’s my first taste, my first course, on every visit. I regularly prepare the carpaccio at home as well, for the sea-fresh flavors marry so beautifully with the touch of spice, zest of lime, gentle crunch of the chives. While in France I use daurade (known as sea bream, similar to porgy), other good choices include Alaskan wild-caught Pacific halibut or Atlantic pole-and-line mahi-mahi.  

  • Equipment: 4 chilled dinner plates;  a very sharp fish knife. 
  • ½ cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice 
  • ½ teaspoon fleur de sel  
  • Coarse, freshly ground black pepper 
  • ½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 pound (500 g) ultra-fresh, sushi-grade white fish fillets, well-chilled NOTE  
  • Zest of 4 limes, preferably organic 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground piment d’Espelette or other mild chile pepper 
  • Several tablespoons minced, fresh chives 
  • Fleur de sel 
  • Freshly ground Timut pepper to taste NOTE   
  • Borage flowers (optional) 
  • Shiso leaves (optional)  

In a large, shallow container, combine the lime juice, fleur de sel, black pepper, and olive oil. Whisk to blend.  

With the knife, cut the filets into paper-thin, bite-sized slices, beginning with the thickest part of the filet. Toss the fish with the dressing. Cover the container with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour. 

At serving time, drain the fish slices one by one and arrange attractively in an even, thin layer on the chilled plates. Season each with the lime zest, Espelette pepper, chives, fleur de sel, Timut pepper, as well as borage flowers and shiso, if using. Serve immediately.  


  •  A 3-pound (1.5 kg) fish should yield about 1 pound (500 g) of fish filets.  
  • Timut pepper is an extraordinarily versatile pepper from Nepal, mimics the flavor of of grapefruit, and has the ability to slightly numb the palate and lips.   
Time Posted: May 31, 2023 at 4:13 PM Permalink to Founders Note: Printemps en France Permalink
 The Princess and The Bear
October 20, 2022 | The Princess and The Bear

Harvest Delights & A Magical, Centuries-Old Winemaking Technique

Harvest Delights - In the Languedoc Roussillon

Most Princess and Bear wines are made with hand-harvested grapes, a true labor of love. As fall approaches, winemakers and their crews begin this intensive work, harvesting in the early morning hours when the air is cool and the fruit less likely to prematurely oxidize. Whole clusters are gently placed into small crates so that the grape skins are intact when the winemaking begins, a necessity for producing delicious, high-quality wines.

The hard work of harvesting is often followed by celebration, like the joyous picnic we recently attended, hosted by third-generation owner and winemaker, Emmanuel Puy of Vignoble Puy.


Left: Emmanuel Puy with his wife Leanne, head of operations and marketing. Right: Vignoble Puy Rosé, a year-round delight, was a favorite at the harvest picnic. 

During the picnic, Emmanuel invited us to witness a centuries-old winemaking technique, pigéage, or "punching down." In this process, the fermenting grapes (in this case, Carignan) are continuously drenched with the fermenting wine through the end of fermentation. The below video captures pigéage in action, with Emmanuel describing how the color and tannins of the skins are extracted into the juice.



Shop Vignoble Puy's incredible wines here

Autumn in the Languedoc-Roussillon also includes seasonal culinary delights such as porcini mushrooms, or cepes. These beauties are gathered in the wild by local mushroom hunters and sold street-side in stalls and booths.


Porcini mushrooms, or cepes, collected by local mushroom hunters.Porcini mushrooms, or cepes, collected by local mushroom hunters.

As mushroom-inspired cuisine appears on tables throughout the Languedoc, so do other unique, harvest-time dishes. Recently, we enjoyed a meal available only once a year, when the wine fermentation begins. Sausage is smothered in must (taken directly from the fermentation tanks!) then baked to savory perfection. We experienced this remarkable dish courtesy of our friends at Domaine Allegria. 


For this remarkable dish, fresh must is ladled over sausage and baked. Paired with Domaine Allegria's Tribu Du Volcan.

For this remarkable dish, fresh must is ladled over sausage and baked. Paired with Domaine Allegria's Tribu Du Volcan.

Soon, we'll feature Domaine Allegria on our website, but for now you can explore their wines here.

Once the harvest season is underway, each grape variety requires its own special timing for optimal flavor and balance. Certain varieties are allowed to stay on the vine for a longer ripening period. 

The below photo captures the "last grape standing" at Domaine Cabrol which has some of the highest elevation vineyards in the Cabardès region of the Languedoc. These Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are in the final stages of ripening at an elevation of over 200 meters. 


Last grape standing! Cabernet Sauvignon vines

Even as the vineyard leaves shift to fall colors, these Cabernet Sauvignon grapes continue to ripen.

Shop Domaine Cabrol's exceptional wines here.

And in our own yard, autumn is signaled by the olives ripening on our thousand-year-old olive tree...


Our thousand-year-old olive tree.

Wishing you a lovely autumn, wherever you are! Stay tuned for more wine, cultural, and culinary adventures from the Languedoc-Roussillon. 

A votre santé,
Carol Bailey and Steve Medwell
Founders, Princess and The Bear Wines


Time Posted: Oct 20, 2022 at 2:04 PM Permalink to Harvest Delights & A Magical, Centuries-Old Winemaking Technique Permalink
 The Princess and The Bear

Award-Winning Wines From Rugged Slopes: Domaine de la Rectorie

Our mission is to expand and delight your wine palate by sharing the undiscovered viticultural gems of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Friends often help out by telling us about amazing wines they’ve discovered while traveling in our region.

Last year, we received this message from a friend who was visiting the artist village of Collioure which is in the Roussillon region, right on the Spanish border: "You must share the wines of Domaine de la Rectorie in the US!" We followed up on his suggestion, made a visit down to the domaine, tasted their wines, and discovered a true jewel. 

Wines Nurtured On Unforgiving Slopes

Domaine de la Rectorie is a family domaine located in Banyuls-sur-Mer, an area of the Roussillon which at first glance seems inhospitable to any kind of farming or viticulture. The geography is incredibly steep, rocky, and hard to access. Yet vineyards have been planted on the surrounding hillsides for centuries and the village is world famous for fortified sweet wines.

Domaine de la Rectorie's high-altitude slopes produce extraordinary wines.Domaine de la Rectorie's high-altitude slopes produce extraordinary wines.


The steep, rocky slopes are so unforgiving that to this day machine harvesting isn't even an option. Grapes must be harvested by hand, and cultivation is aided by the family’s team of horses.

Domaine de la Rectorie's vineyards must be hand-harvested.


For centuries, For centuries, "borie" or huts have shaded vignerons and their animals from the intense heat on the rugged slopes of Banyuls-sur-Mer. The borie also provide storage for tools.


On The Trail Of An Undiscovered Gem

To learn more about Domaine de la Rectorie, we dispatched one of our most knowledgeable team members, Ioana Bucur, French Wine Scholar, COO, and tasting room manager. After experiencing the wines and spending time with the winemakers, Ioana delivered her verdict — the wines of Domaine de la Rectorie were spectacular, embodying all of the qualities that first attracted us to the winemaking renaissance of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Artisanal, influenced by terroir, shaped both by tradition and creativity, these wines captured it all. 

Ioana Bucur visits Domaine de la RectorieIoana with Emilio Perez, Domaine de la Rectorie's export and sales manager.


Since then, we've been able to visit the domaine and experience these stunning wines ourselves. We toured the vineyards and the winemaking facilities. Following in Ioana’s footsteps, we met with Emilio Perez, an amazing team member.

La Rectorie is run by founder Thierry Parcé and his son Jean-Emmanuel. The Parcés are members of a winemaking family whose roots run deep in Banyuls-sur-Mer.  Thierry's great-grandmother, Thérèse, oversaw the vineyards for nearly 50 years. At that time, the grapes were taken to the local cooperative cellar for vinification. Thérèse's father, Marcelin, made fortified sweet wine in the second half of 19th century. 

The wine cave is actually a repurposed underground bunkerThe wine cave was once a WWII underground bunker. It's now used for more peaceful purposes.


Award Winning Wines In Demand

Extreme geologic conditions, hands-on viticulture, and generations of winemaking expertise coalesce to create the exquisite wines of Domaine de la Rectorie. It's no surprise that the wines have received numerous awards and are in demand all over the world. Princess and Bear was able to secure a small allocation of four cuvées: L'Argile (white), L'Oriental (red), Montagne (red), and Leon Parcé (vin doux naturel, natural sweet wine).

We normally reserve new wines for our club members, but we've decided to make these wines widely available. After the shipment arrives in August, wine lovers can purchase them on the website and in our tasting room. 

We are off to Greece soon with our family.  We will be looking for new grape varieties that are accustomed to high temperatures because those should be appearing in the vineyards of the Languedoc-Roussillon more and more. Thanks for joining us on our adventures!!

A votre santé,
Carol Bailey and Steve Medwell
Founders, Princess and The Bear Wines

P.S. Our annual party for Mediterranean wine club members will take place in early October 2022. Once again, we've partnered with Vin En Vacances to create a fabulous travel program that will include tours, wine tastings, and restaurants — all off the beaten path. Review the itinerary and learn more here. 



Time Posted: Jun 21, 2022 at 12:41 PM Permalink to Award-Winning Wines From Rugged Slopes: Domaine de la Rectorie Permalink
 The Princess and The Bear

Founder Notes: A Tasting Ramble & Our Latest Wine Discovery!

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


Time Posted: Mar 22, 2022 at 12:47 PM Permalink to Founder Notes: A Tasting Ramble & Our Latest Wine Discovery! Permalink
 The Princess and The Bear
December 6, 2021 | The Princess and The Bear

Founder Notes: Year-End Reflections & A Hopeful Adieu

Founder Notes: A Challenging But Hopeful Adieu To 2021


As we look back on 2021, it's hard not to dwell on the difficulties. People suffered and died from COVID-19. Businesses failed and with them the jobs that families rely on. Many of us weren’t able to be with the loved ones we count on for support and joy. And divisions seemed to worsen in societies across the world among people who cannot agree on basic facts.  

All of this gives us pause. But it also strengthens our resolve to promote kindness and bring people together by sharing our love of the wines, culture, and history of the Languedoc-Roussillon.   

Year-End Reflections

2021 brought challenges for Princess and Bear Wines, but also growth, community, and the discovery of delicious new wines. Scroll on for a few highlights!

New tasting room, opened April 24, 2021

Thank You For A Year Of Growth

Despite shipping disruptions and an astronomical cost increase, we still managed to find incredible wines at reasonable prices, enabling our business to grow throughout the year. You helped as well! A huge thank you to all of you who introduced friends, family members, and colleagues to our wines through gifts and word-of-mouth.

Welcome To Our New Tasting Room

At the local level, we got off to a rocky start with the closure of our tasting room in Seattle. But a few months later, we opened the doors to our new tasting room, a gorgeous, light-filled space in South Park, an exciting, multicultural neighborhood in Seattle. 

Since then hundreds of people from the Seattle area have been able to taste the wines we personally research and select from the Languedoc and Roussillon regions.  Thank you to everyone in the Seattle area who visited the new tasting room and shared it with friends. We deeply appreciate the warm welcome we’ve gotten from the South Park community.

Carol and Steve with independent winemakers Franck and Christina Avéla

Introducing—Fabulous New Wines And Winemakers

Because Europe was still quiet in the beginning of the year, we had few visitors and didn't travel much. As a result, we had plenty of time to taste new wines and discover fabulous new winemakers. We continue to be inspired every day by the hard work of small, independent winemakers and their families. The hands-on nature of their winemaking and the quality of their wines is rare and admirable.

Our wine club members will be receiving some of these incredible new wines in the coming months. For those of you who aren’t yet wine club members, we'd like to "whet your appetite" with two recipes that will be included in the next wine club shipment: 

1st Annual Wine Club Party (In The Languedoc!)

Another bright star in our year was the first annual party for our Mediterranean wine club members and others who have strongly supported Princess and Bear Wines.  We hosted the party at our home with music, fantastic food, and five of our winemakers and their partners and spouses.

Friends new and old at the 1st annual wine club party

Our local travel partner, Vin en Vacances, also organized day trips to the many historical sites in this region. This included a seafood lunch on the Mediterranean where the Romans first landed, just before they planted vineyards in the Languedoc over 2000 years ago. It was a true joy to introduce this beautiful region and a few of our winemakers to our wine club members. 

Wine Makers at the annual Languedoc Party

Winemakers at the annual party, left to right: Franck & Cristine Avéla - Domaine Avélla, Lidewij van Wilgen - Terre des Dames, Camille & Ulrich Izarn - Borie la Virarèle. 

Hope And Adventure In The New Year

Despite the challenges of 2021, we feel a sense of enthusiasm and excitement for what the next year will bring. Thank you for your support, and for trusting us to introduce you to wines far off the beaten path! We hope you'll continue this adventure with us in 2022, as we go deeper into the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region.

Wishing you and yours love, good health and joy!  


Carol Bailey and Steve Medwell
Founders, Princess and The Bear Wines

Learn more about Vin en Vacances.


Time Posted: Dec 6, 2021 at 7:57 AM Permalink to Founder Notes: Year-End Reflections & A Hopeful Adieu Permalink
 The Princess and The Bear
October 12, 2021 | The Princess and The Bear

Travel, Wine, Food, Culture: Wine Club Party In the Languedoc!

October 9th marked our very first wine club party at our home in the Languedoc. It was a magical evening, filled with incredible food and wine, laughter, music, and friends, new and old.

Twenty-five of our top-tier Mediterranean wine club members and other supporters of Princess and Bear Wines flew from all over the US to join us. European friends and five of our winemakers attended as well.

Oct. 9th party at Carol and Steve's home in the village of Quarante

The wine was flowing and the food was fabulous, enhanced by the music of a British DJ who played Brazilian classics throughout the evening, creating an atmosphere both cozy and cosmopolitan.

The party was part of a tour we organized with our friend Wendy Gedney of Vin en Vacances, one of the premier vineyard tour companies in the Languedoc. 

Winemakers at the party. Left Photo: Franck & Cristine Avela - Domaine Avela (left), Lidewij van Wilgen - Terre des Dames (center), Camille & Ulrich Izarn - Borie la Virarele (right). Upper Right Photo: Simon & Monica Coulshaw of Domaine Trinites (1st from right), Kirsten & Glen Creasy of Terre2Sources (2nd from right).

For us, the wines, landscape, culture, and food of the Languedoc-Roussillon region are inextricably intertwined. This tour was designed in that same spirit.Carol Bailey, Founder, Princess and The Bear

The itinerary included wine education, tastings, and tours of several artisanal, organic winemakers who own their vineyards, cultivate their vines, and carry out all aspects of the winemaking themselves, root to sip. We trust that everyone on the tour felt as inspired as we do by these incredible individuals. 

Left: Princess and Bear Founder Carol Bailey and COO Ioana Bucur with 23-year-old winemaker Audrey Rouanet of Domaine Rouanet Montcélèbre. Right: Street signs and vineyards outside the medieval town of Minerve. 

Historic markets, medieval castles, and a restaurant on the Mediterranean Sea near the salt flats rounded out the program, offering participants a rich experience of this extraordinary region. 

Private Princess and Bear food and wine paired dinner at L’Atelier in the medieval village of Caunes-Minervois.

To give you a better sense of the tour, we've attached the itinerary below.

It was a joy to host everyone and share in their delight as they discovered the supernatural South of France!  We are already planning for next year…

A votre santé,

Carol Bailey and Steve Medwell
Founders, Princess and The Bear Wines

Learn more about Vin en Vacances.

Review the itinerary.


Time Posted: Oct 12, 2021 at 11:31 AM Permalink to Travel, Wine, Food, Culture: Wine Club Party In the Languedoc! Permalink