The princess and the bear

The Princess and The Bear was founded by Carol Bailey (The Princess), a family law attorney and mediator, and Steve Medwell (The Bear), a surgeon.

When my husband and I bought a home in the Languedoc we had no intention of starting a wine import business.

The venture that we ultimately created called The Princess and The Bear was totally inspired by the fabulous wines we found in the Languedoc at unbelievably reasonable prices.

For the last two years we have driven the highways and byways crisscrossing the entire Languedoc and Roussillon regions. We have had the immense pleasure of meeting the most wonderful and dedicated winemakers you can find anywhere.

The Princess & Bear team with Mélanie Estival (2nd from right) of Voûte de Verdus. White Grenache vines on the right. Cinsault vines on the left.

At this point we have the largest number of artisanal Languedoc and Roussillon wines of any wine importer in the US. The wine drinkers in the US who have had an opportunity to taste the wines we have selected have been blown away! We sold out of all of the white and rosé wines six months ahead of scheduled sales, which let you know that the quality price ratio of the wines in our region is truly excellent!

Our team from Seattle was here during late July  getting to know the vineyards and wine makers that make the Languedoc wines one of the best examples anywhere of how a wine region can blend tradition and innovation to achieve fabulous results. We all should be proud of the amazing winemakers whose wines surround us every day!  Below is an extract of our visiting notes for our latest tastings.

This month, our entire Princess and Bear team is “on the ground” exploring the Languedoc-Roussillon region, visiting our fabulous winemakers, and tasting the latest vintages.

So far we’ve visited the appellations of Faugéres, Terrasses du Larzac, and La Livinière where we toured the vineyards and experienced the beautiful cuvées of five of our winemakers.

We walked the 100 year old vineyard of La Voûte du Verdu with Mélanie Estival, a fourth-generation winemaker. La Voûte’s winemaking cave sits atop the Verdus River in the medieval town of St. Guilhem le Desert. Le Désert Blanc and Grand Saut are two of the wonderfully complex wines produced by La Voûte du Verdu.

In the video below, our team tours the reclaimed biodynamic Grenache vineyard of Simon and Monica Coulshaw of Domaine des Trinités in the Faugéres appellation.

You’ll notice the “garrigue,” the rich, often aromatic, vegetation that intermingles with the vines, and the schist soil which provides minerality and freshness.

Left to right: Steve Medwell (the Bear), Ioana Bucur (Princess & Bear’s Tasting Room Manager), Monica Coulshaw of Domaine des Trinités, Carol Bailey (the Princess), Simon Coulshaw of Domaine des Trinités, & Rachael Beidler, Princess & Bear’s Director of Operations.

We dropped in on another of our winemakers in the Faugères appellation—the delightful Pierre Urbain of Mas Nuy. Like the Bear, Pierre is a former surgeon turned Languedoc wine lover!

Beginning in 2014, Pierre started a range of PGI (IGP) wines, harvesting the grapes at night and making the wine in concrete vats to preserve the freshness and varietal identity of his wines. We carry three of these IGP wines, Robe Blanche, Quartz Rosé, and Athanor. We also offer La Catieda (Pierre’s top cuvée white) and Fou de Rec.

Our team with Pierre Urbain and the wines of Mas Nuy.

Pascal Riviere of La Jasse Castel is one of the women winemakers fueling the Languedoc wine renaissance. Our team caught up with her in the charming village of Montpeyroux where we shared an al fresco meal.

Pascal Riviere of La Jasse Castel (far right) and the Princess & Bear team

Pascal’s vineyards include a century-old Cinsault, an ancient Carignan, a purebred Syrah on the edge of an oak forest, and a Grenache in the heart of the Seranne landscape. Her exquisite wines include Bleu Velours, El Abanico, Légrisee, and La Jasse.

Our final stop was in the Minervois-La Livinière appellation where our team shared a few laughs and tasted the incredible wines of winemaker, Michel Escande of Borie de Maurel.

Taste La Féline, Le Gypse,  Belle de Nuit and Cuveé Sylla to see why Michel was dubbed “The Wizard of Feline,” by the international wine press.

By Carol Bailey,