The stories behind the wine...

Jerome Houssin and his sister Naomi run Domaine des Tilleuls in the village of La Regrippière a picturesque property in the heart of the Muscadet appellation. The kids have embraced technology and modern viticulture, while respecting the traditions of their parents and grandparents.


The Houssin family has 35 hectarces of Melon de Bourgogne, Sauvignon and a small plot of Chardonnay all walking distance from their family home. Melon de Bourgogne is the grape of Muscadet. It is fresh and clean with mineral notes and crisp acidity. The Domaine des Tilleuls Muscadets are low in alcohol, bright and fresh. Perfect as aperitif or on a sunny day with any seafood!

The vineyards of Château de Lascaux have been in the family for thirteen generations. The name of the domaine, “Lascaux” comes from a limestone specific to the Domaine’s vineyard sites. Jean-Benoit Cavalier and his daughter Marie make beautiful wines from the eighty-five hectares of vineyards, surrounded by three-hundred hectares of forest. The winery is state of the art, enabling the Cavaliers to make elegant, polished wines in a remote region.


What struck me during my visit and tasting at Lascaux was the exceptional quality of all the winesproduced by the Cavaliers. The Garrigue is Chateau de Lascaux’s most well know red wine. A blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre, the 2017 is full and rich on the palette with aromas of herbs and, of course “garrigue”. There is no new oak on this wine, which helps retain its freshness. Pair this wine with grilled meats, tomato sauces and Mediterranean cuisine.

In 2012 while working at Diageo I meet a Frenchman named Laurent Barbier, who along with his wife Cathy have decades of experience in the Bordeaux wine trade. In 2005 Laurent and Cathy purchased a small house with several acres of vineyards outside the picturesque village of Saint Emillion on the right bank of Bordeaux.

The 2016 Haut Lorca is the Barbier’s passion project. All the grapes for Haut Lorca come from certified organic vineyards. Laurent and Cathy’s idea for Haut Lorca was to make a wine that exemplified the best characteristics found in Bordeaux but in a style that was more accessible in its’ youth. The 2016 has a nose of lush and ripe small red fruits with hints of cedar. This wine has guts and the stuffing to stand up to your next barbeque but with enough elegance to impress your wine snob friends;-).

Domaine Lafran-Veyrolles dates to 1405 and has been owned by the same family since 1651! The Ferec-Jouvé ancestors have been tending the same acreage and vineyards were their famous Mourvedre, Ugni Blanc and Clairette grapes are grown for four centuries. In Bandol, the beautiful coastal village near the Cote d’Azur, Mourvedre is grape that is king creating wines of power and elegance.

The wines from this 20 acre estate are made by Jean-Michel Castel. I was introduced to Jean-Marie by Roselyn Gavoty, owner of Domaine Gavoty in Provence. Roselyn said, “If you are looking for Bandol, Lafran-Veyrolles is the real deal”.

Lafran-Veyrolles Rosé is a blend of 70% Mourvedre, 15% Grenache and 15% Cinsault, it is onion skin in color, with mineral and white peach aromas; with bracing acidity and a salinity on the palette. These wines should be enjoyed with food; ideally Mediterranean fare. My favorite is any type of grilled fish with herbs, lemon and olive oil.