Domaine of the Bee, Roussillon

Some people think that wine has a time and a place. That it should be properly presented, poured and reverently appreciated either around a dining table or more appropriately in a solemn proper winetasting. Happily, Justin Howard-Sneyd, MW, doesn’t think that way. Which is why me and Mr DrinknEat (Nathan Nolan)¬† found ourselves at sunset on top of a hill in Roussillon slugging away on not one, but two bottles of wine from Justin’s vineyard, Domaine of the Bee. Nathan and I were there to visit the region and find out a bit more about the wines of Roussillon. I’m sure you’ve all seen or heard of Ch. Monty, that rather interesting show on British TV a few years back that followed an English chap who chucked it all in to follow his dream of owning a vineyard in the south of France. Justin and his wife were a bit more prudent, buying vineyards in the Roussillon while still keeping their day jobs in London. Justin and his partners, wife Amanda and chief financial partner, Phillipe Sacerdot now have 3 vineyards in the Cathar country about a 20 minute drive from Perpignan, near the town and appellation of Maury. Their vineyards are old vines, as most are in the area, although slowly, old vineyards are being grubbed up and new plantings being put down. Justin’s vineyards are between 1 and 1.4 hectares in size, growing grenache noir and carignan primarily. While the grapes used come from vineyards¬† owned by Justin and his partners, the grapes are grown and the wine is made by Richard Case, owner of Domaine de la Pertuisane where he also makes his own wine, as well as being winemaker for Domaine of the Bee. Justin and co. come to the valley a few times a year to check on how things are going as well as to enjoy the fresh country air and beautiful hilly vistas. The region used to be well known for its sweet wines but as demand...

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