Discover Southern Europe, Issue 6, July 2019

Page 48

A family love affair with fine wines “Wine was like forbidden fruit for me growing up,” reminisces Julien Fournier, manager of the estate at the Domaine FL vineyard. “My grandfather wouldn’t let me go down into his cellar. When the bottles were brought up I was allowed to smell, but never to taste. I think my passion was born from that.” The name of the estate itself – ‘Domaine FL’, is a nod to Julien’s paternal grandparents; Fournier and Longchamps.

An easy hour and a half on the train from Paris, Domaine FL is just south of Angers against the stunning backdrop of France’s Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with fairy-tale castles and steeped in history. The River Loire itself cuts through part of the estate’s land.

TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: DOMAINE FL

“I

t’s a father to son thing. My grandfather loved wine, my father loves wine and that’s why I’m here running the vineyard,” he continues. The current generation of the Fournier family have all made their mark on the estate. Julien’s mother is an artist, and she and his brother – an architect – both took a hand in the conception and finish of the winery and tasting room, complete with roof terrace overlooking their 89 acres of vines. 48  |  Issue 6  |  July 2019

Winemaking here dates back to the 12th century. The first vines were planted in 1130 and monks from the Abbey of SaintNicolas d'Angers cultivated the vines to make communion wine used in local churches. Recalling those humble beginnings, one of the estate’s highly-rated vintages is still called Roche aux Moines Rock of the Monks. The unique soil and topography in the Anjou region play heavily into the Domaine