In a nutshell: A harmonious and expressive medium bodied red from the Catalan south of France.
The lowdown: Made from 100% Grenache from a selection of vineyards around the small Roussillon town of Maury this is full of striking red fruit flavours with a distinct mineral freshness and notes of fennel - quite appropriate given that this part of the country is known as 'Les Fenouillèdes'. Ageing for around 14 months in oak gives it a good balance of subtle vanilla tannins.
When to drink: A delicious expression of the warm south of France and great with robust meaty dishes.
The Domaine of the Bee is a partnership between Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, his wife Amanda and Philippe Sacerdot. Their small estate is a part time enterprise and their three small vineyards are centred around the town of Maury in the heart of Roussillon in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Justin is based in London where he runs a successful wine consultancy. In the early 2000s he fell in love with the area of Roussillon just inland from Perpignan and its wines to the extent that he decided to look for some vineyards of his own. Thus the Domaine of the Bee was born with the objective of producing wines that express the quintessence of the hottest and driest part of France.
Their first wines were produced in 2007 and since then they've steadily added to the number of cuvées they make. Given the size of their vineyards all of them are small production and only seen in limited quanitities, but each is a really interesting interpretation of what the area is capable of achieving.