For nearly 10 years now, on our frequent visits to France, we have been interested to note the major differences between wineries and cellar door wine tasting attitudes between Australia and France. Our house is situated not far from the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape region and Côte du Rhône as well as the many wineries of the Languedoc region, with even a winery within 500 metres of our house in Uzès.
Having grown up in Australia, most wineries tend to be places to not only taste the end result of all those vines heavy with grapes, but to enjoy a casual cheese platter, bistro type meal, or even a more formal affair with wines to match the food. Usually this means there is a cellar door with a restaurant and often lovely outdoor area overlooking superb vistas plus a shop selling wine products and other appropriate branded products. However- this has not been our experience in France for a range of reasons.
So, imagine my delight when a friend of mine, mentioned that she had visited what sounded like the French winery of my dreams! With expectations on high alert a small group of us lunching ladies set off for Château d ‘Estoublon near Fontvieille on a beautiful day in August. I was not disappointed! The driveway is long through the vineyards and then you see the outbuildings and finally the château itself once you have parked.
Beautiful old established trees, extensive rose gardens and a self-guided tour via bi-lingual information boards take you through their many vineyards, each growing a different grape variety.
Wetlands with metal sculptures and native flora and fauna in a lake are a delightful feature as is the little chapel which is at main entry to the grounds themselves.
A well stocked shop which combines wine tasting with tasting notes, the wines to buy and beautiful local produce is worth lingering in. However, the main event is the lunch and on Sundays their brunch. Casual outdoor eating in good weather (inside if not) , we were delighted with the rustic, fresh food and our choice of wine and the total ambience of this magical place.
The Château itself is not available for casual visitors, but can be hired for weddings and other functions.
Website for more information and bookings: www.estoublon.com Route de Maussane – 13990 Fontvieille France +33 (0)4 90 54 64 00