Summer evenings in the South of France seem endless. Especially when spending it in good company while enjoying good food and wine. And when you can sit outside, watching the sunset over vines as far as the eye can see, you’re in a dream setting. At Domaine Allegria in Caux near Pézenas, you can do precisely that. Besides tasting their superb wines, you can join them for a lovely ‘table d’hôtes’ evening, where they share their family dinner table.
Domaine Allegria is the family Aboville, or the Tribu d’A- the A Tribe. There is Delphine and Ghislain, first-generation winemakers, and their five kids. Allegria means happiness in Occitan and perfectly suits this joyful family. Just after entering the estate, the couple warmly welcomed Chéri and I. And their little welcome speech radiated with passion. With the first out of six tastings in our hands, the Dolce Farniente rosé from 2022, Ghislain took us and our fellow visitors on a brief tour. He enthusiastically explained their winemaking adventure, which began in 2008 after their desire to change their lives. They started Domaine Allegria with their Argentinian friend, a renowned winemaker.
The estate’s 12 hectares of vines lie around the Baume volcano, an extension of the Auvergne volcanos starting in Clermont Ferrand and going as far as Cap d’Agde. It was clear that even after 17 years, Delphine and Ghislain are still full of ideas. For example, one plot has been planted in a spiral to be vinified in their latest addition of a perfectly round concrete tank. After this interesting introduction to Domaine Allegria, Ghislain invited us to dinner. Walking around the wine cellar unfolded a magical scenery. Romantically set tables stood criss-cross on a terrace overlooking the rolling vines and the slowly setting sun. A delightful evening full of culinary surprises awaited us!
Sound of summer
The cicadas played their sound of summer while Chéri and I enjoyed our starter. Les Hautes Lumières from 2020 paired well with our fresh lentils and herb salad. The main dish was a beautiful plate of smoked duck and a variety of tomatoes. We had two red wines with it, the Cinsault Abuelo from 2022 and the Tribu du Volcan from 2019. The goat cheeses from nearby Mas Rolland came with a fig jam made by Delphine and the white Belle Histoire from 2021.
Chant of cicadas
By this time, the sun had set completely, and smooth jazz tunes had replaced the chant of the cicadas. A string of dreamy lights and candles lit up our last serving: a classic Dame Blanche paired with the white grenache of Le Bienveillant from 2020. Delphine and Ghislain’s son had come over from his studies abroad to help them serve. Every course was served smoothly with a smile and a cheerful chat, and you could feel the family love flow. Just for one evening, Delphine and Ghislain made us feel like we were part of the Tribu d’A!