Domaine de Poujol was bought by the Cripps family in 1994—Robert and Kim, and Robert’s retired parents, Dick and Ann. Robert is English, Kim is American, and they farm in what was the most unlikely of places to find foreign winegrowers at the time. They came to this part of the Languedoc as the first non-French owners of a domaine, and they quickly distinguished themselves by their experience and strong pioneer spirit. Robert had been in the wine trade in Oxford for several years, eventually going on to make wine at some prestigious wineries in California. Kim had worked for ten years in Napa in financial management. Together, they had a dream of making their own wine in France. After a year of investigating, they found Domaine de Poujol, a unique little corner of paradise where the warm Mediterranean air is quickly cooled down by the cool, southeastern breezes descending from the Cevennes (one of the great mountain ranges of the Midi). Here the vineyards enjoy southern sun exposure on slopes and terraces overlooking the river Mosson.
After buying the property, Kim and Robert discovered that their eighteen hectares of vineyards sit just outside of the Pic St. Loup appellation, and consequently had to take the Coteaux du Languedoc and Vin de Pays de l’Hérault designations. Initially, this was a great disappointment to them, because they believed their wines merited the status of a Languedoc cru. In spite of these constraints, the Cripps showcase the power of their own terroir with great success. Their secret is in the soil, which is predominantly limestone, with a high concentration of magnesium. According to the Cripps, this is what gives their wine its freshness. Their hard work and persistence have allowed them to discover their own distinct sense of place, offering wines with deep aromas of bright red berries, garrigue, and forest floor. After fifteen years of farming these beautiful vineyards, the Cripps have realized the potential of their terroir to make the freshest, brightest wines you’ll find in this hot, southern climate. Thomas Jefferson, who had a pretty good palate, singled out Poujol as one of the great vineyard sites when he went tasting around Montpellier!