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.

Volubilia – Domaine de la Zouina's wines

  • ***

    Volubilia Gris

    Grapes: Mourvèdre, Tempranillo

    Pale onion skin. Fresh, aromatic nose. Delicate, ripe peach and floral notes. Elegant and serious. Crisp palate. Crunchy acidity. Mineral notes. Mouth-watering white stone fruits and blossom. Very good indeed.

  • ***

    Volubilia Rosé

    Grapes: Caladoc, Marselan, Syrah

    Vibrant rose-pink. Savoury on the nose, a serious style. Redcurrant and whiffs of jam over dried herb. More weighty than the gris, though lively acidity through it all. Mineral elements. Plenty of length. Very well made.

  • ***½

    Volubilia Red

    Grapes: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 25% Tempranillo, 10% Mourvèdre

    Dark cherry colour. Intense nose of blackcurrant and cherry, with hints of smoke and meat. Big supple palate. Fine tannins. Soft but not too sweet. Ripe red fruits, hints of herb, musk and spice. Very good.

  • ***½

    Epicuria Chardonnay

    Deep yellow to gold. Warm tropical nose. Enticing and complex (best of what the US used to do). Custard and dessert apple. Crisp palate. Big and attention-grabbing but complex nonetheless. Sweet apple, quince and green almonds with a meaty musk. Viscous and cool through the palate.

  • ****

    Epicuria Syrah – Tank sample

    Purple. Big organic nose. Wild meat, truffle, smoke and plum jam. Very sweet fruits on palate, plum jam, boiled strawberry and roasted red pepper. Fine, plentiful tannins. Berry fruits, hints of angelica, ginger. Medium weight on finish. Very good.

  • *

    Epicuria Cabernet Sauvignon – Tank sample

    Deep red. Sweet blueberry nose. Chocolate hints. Ripe. Warm palate, a little too much so, though some grip. Super ripe berry. Overcooked.