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.