Originally from Paris, Dominique Hauvette grew up wintering in the Alps. But after an extended vacation in Provence, she decided her calling was in the south of France. In the decades that followed, she has become one of the most important natural winemakers of our time.
This is a woman with no shortage of talents. She was a lawyer, a ski instructor, a house painter, and an equestrian. In 1988, a neighboring winemaker in the rocky, wild foothills of Les Alpilles retired and passed his vines and farmhouse to her. It was then that she added vigneron to the list.
Like other winemakers we admire — Catherine & Pierre Breton and Didier Barral, to name a few — Dominique has been a guiding light for the natural wine movement. She farms biodynamically, ferments with native yeasts, and was one of the first winemakers to advocate for the use of concrete eggs for fermentation. She found that they created more complex wines than stainless steel, and the practice has been widely adopted in the last few decades. Everything she does is geared toward transmitting the garrigue-infused terroir of her home into every bottle.
Here, where Provence and the Southern Rhône collide, Dominique farms old vines in a rocky, wild landscape. The soils are clay and limestone. For half of the year, the Mistral wind rages through the vines. The summers are hot and dry, and all these conditions lead to small yields of highly concentrated grapes.
With that, she produces a tiny amount of wine under the Les Alpilles IGP and Les Baux de Provence AOC — just 3300 cases annually. It’s barely enough to satiate the legions of devoted followers that she’s cultivated with her concentrated, exquisitely perfumed wines.
The Wines of Domaine Hauvette
Her Les Alpilles Blanc Jape is 100% Roussane. It’s fermented in concrete eggs and aged in stainless. On the nose, it’s an explosive bouquet of honeysuckle. A luxurious yet edgy experience — all silk and velvet but with a rippling wave of energy in every sip.
Her Les Alpilles Rosé Petra is a classic blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache. Aromas of citrus and stonefruit, and an illuminated quality, like a warm yellow light being flicked on, in every sip. As for her reds, they are perfumed and elegant with incredible aging potential.
The arrival of our Hauvette allocation is something we look forward to all year. The wines may be gaining popularity across the country, but the amount Dominique makes isn’t changing. We’re lucky to get more than our fair share. If you see these bottles on the shelf, don’t think twice.