The company’s literature states that the two French partners, Gérard Gribelin (ex Ch Fieuzal) and Philippe Gervoson (Larrivet Haut-Brion) fell in love with the soils of the area on a golf trip in 2001. They must have thrown their clubs away and begun work immediately, as by 2002 they had formed a partnership (Volubilia) with Domaine de la Zouina and planted 63 hectares of vines.
The seriousness with which they are approaching the venture indicates a level of understanding of the potential of the region that many are unaware of. Great care is being taken in the vineyards; indeed, as much as at their properties in Bordeaux (although the methods are in tune with local conditions) and much effort is dedicated to extracting maximum potential from the estate. Domaine de la Zouina is currently managed by Gérard Gribelin’s son, Christophe (left, above), and the vineyard management and winemaking is in the hands of Philippe Lespy (right), formerly of Domaines Barons de Rothschild. The first vintage was in 2005 and since then the wines have won a number of accolades and are set to improve year on year.