Here’s three top wineries from three unique regions to add to your bucket list.
I’ve been lucky enough to explore a wealth of beautiful vineyards throughout France, but some of my favorites are very small properties that aren’t open to the general public for visits – not yet at least. Here are three of my absolute favorites that are and look forward to welcoming you any time. Definitely worthy of a French wine lover’s bucket list!
1) Domaine de la Bégude, Bandol (Provence)
Meaning “the place where strangers are welcomed” in old Provençal, Bégude is a place that lives up to its name. It is an oasis of peace. A visit here will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a place outside of time. At once both ancient (with property origins dating back to the 14th century) and modern (with state-of-the-art winemaking facilities), this domaine respects its past while evolving toward the future. To arrange a visit at Domaine de la Bégude, send an email over to their staff at: email@example.com. A full picnic with local meats, cheeses, spreads, plus a bottle of wine is available for 49€ a person (and well worth not only the delicious food but also the view at the top of Bandol). Located just up the hill of Le Castellet, it’s about a 25 minute drive from Toulon.
2) Château du Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolais (Southern Burgundy)
This domaine has a fascinating history going all the way back to the 18th century, but is now under new ownership with Edouard Parinet. Edouard has grand plans for the domaine’s future and has an eye toward modernity: the wines are all farmed organically and the domaine is focused on restoring biodiversity to its 37 hectares. Like many of the domaines we visited, Château du Moulin-à-Vent is also committed to vinifying its wine by parcel. This Burgundian approach lends a finesse and sublime elegance to the wines at CMAV. My favorite is the 2021 Vérillats, which has soft, silky tannins yet enough backbone to stand up to a wide variety of dishes. Probably one of the most welcoming and oenotourism-focused of all the domaines we visited, I highly recommend a stop here. For more information, check out their tastings on their website.
3) Domaine Weinbach, Alsace
From the moment you drive up to Weinbach, it’s clear that it is a very special place. The domaine and family home where the tastings take place is oozing with elegance and refinement. The vineyards on the property are paved with stunning stone walkways and the entire estate is surrounding by one of Alsace’s most revered Grand Cru hills: the Schlossberg.
While there’s no doubting that the environs of Weinbach are impressive, its mark on history is felt in every step you take too. Woman owned and operated since the 1970s and one of the first places in Alsace to implement biodynamics, this is a place that changed winemaking forever. Experimentation while keeping restraint, reform while staying true to Alsace’s cultural traditions – I found all this and more in every single cuvée I tasted with Domaine Weinbach. Certainly some of the region’s most exceptional wines are made here – by some of the region’s most exceptional people, too. Book your visit on their website.