A taste of the Languedoc way of life

The Languedoc way of life is about locally produced food and wine, lush landscapes, sunshine and warmth, art and nature and community. All of these combine to make a deliciously languid and moreish lifestyle. I toured the region this summer courtesy of the CIVL to meet some of the wine growers and makers, and stayed in the elegant countryside Mas Neuf, home of Les Vignobles JeanJean.

Mas Neuf, Vignobles Jean-Jean.

Country-style living

French country style at Mas Neuf.

The luxurious country ‘home’ at Mas Neuf is set amongst the French countryside and close to the forest, where truffle pigs search for the prized fungi fruit. The interior style is contemporary and extremely comfortable with gorgeous original watercolours adorning the walls, stylish lighting and furnishings. The buildings are set around a courtyard set with four very old olive trees, one at each corner.

The courtyard at Mas Neuf shaded by olive trees.

Vignobles JeanJean has been passed down through five generations. They have seven properties in the beautiful Languedoc now represented by Brigitte JeanJean, Director and Ambassador, alongside her cousins Frédéric and Philippe and her sister Elisabeth. Four estates are organic with the aim of having all seven certified organic by 2020.

After a tour of the estate – where we met Georges the friendly black pig who lives next door to the vegetable garden – we enjoyed a tasting of a range of wines. I hasten to assure you, dear reader, that spitoons were used. Later, though, we enjoyed a number of wines, including the luscious L’Inédit, with our picnic. As you can see from the bottle label, Vignobles JeanJean wines are bottled on the estate. This is the essence of the Languedoc way of life, enjoying wines and food in the region, even in the exact same spot, where they are grown and produced.

Le picnic

Dinner was a magical picnic in the chateau courtyard where the 200-year old olive trees are lit at dusk. Food and wines were set out on a long table covered in crisp white linen. Pretty mismatched glasses and china, in an assortment of pink, white and apple green, were complimented by food in similar colours. Starters included little glasses of melon and crumbly goats cheese, diced crunchy cucumber with herbs, shot glasses of chilled green gazpacho and tiny pastry cups filled with a creamy goats cheese and topped with tiny red pimentos. We tucked into a pissaldière decorated with salty anchovies, stir fried vegetables and more tasty dishes. Big bowls of dark red cherries, local cheeses and marshmallows were served with coffee. It was all so delicious and such a perfect setting, with twinkling lights in the gnarled old olive trees, and cicadas chiruping in the backbround on a warm summer’s night.

Interior design

The main staircase at Mas Neuf.

Local art works adorn the walls inside and each room is named after a grape variety.

Below left to right: the Muscat room; country-style double room with more local artworks, stylish lighting; and the most luxuriest bathroom, with whirlpool, double vanity unit and spacious walk-in shower room. I was in seventh heaven.

The gardens

The view from my bedroom window.
Georges at Vignobles JeanJean lives next door to the vegetable garden.

Staying at Mas Neuf

Although sadly, Mas Neuf does not currently offer B&B, it is available for exclusively for wedding celebrations and business conferences.

The banqueting hall for weddings and business events overlooking the gardens at Mas Neuf

My thanks to the CIVL. A special thanks to Brigitte Barreiro, Marketing and Communication Manager at Vignobles JeanJean who was utterly delightful in making us so welcome. www.vignobles-jeanjean.com Read more about my summer in the South of France, The Languedoc: Five special places for wine lovers.

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