Mas des Tourelles – Beaucaire, France - Gastro Obscura

Gastro Obscura

Mas des Tourelles

Beaucaire, France

A winery built on the site of a Gallo-Roman estate uses historical tools to recreate ancient vintages. 

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Located in a partially excavated and reconstructed Gallo-Roman villa, Mas des Tourelles offers the chance to sip a glass of wine that recreates the taste of ancient Greece or Rome. Although the winery also produces Syrah and other modern wines, its most interesting offerings are made by following the detailed notes and records of Pliny the Elder, Lucius Moderatus Columella, and other notable writers of the Roman world.

In partnership with archaeologists, owner Hervé Durand reconstructed the Roman vineyard and cellar (a major center of wine production during antiquity) and reproduced the ancient recipes. Every September, guests can visit as the estate turns into a Roman village, with tunic-clad staff stomping grapes, wielding a wooden winepress, and pouring must into terracotta jars.

After the demonstration, visitors can enjoy a tasting of the wine infused, in Roman style, with plants, fruits, honey, or even seawater. Mulsum, a popular Roman aperitif, is made with honey and spices such as cinnamon and pepper. Carenum involves quinces in the recipe. The bottles are sold only at the winery throughout the year, and many receive high marks from tasters. These are recipes that have stood the test of time.

Know Before You Go

Visit the winery's website for information on seasonal hours. Even if you can't attend the ancient Roman event on the second Sunday of September, the winery has a presentation on Roman winemaking available year round.

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