Domaine O'Vineyards is a very special place. Our two-night stay there is an experience that we will always remember.
After a busy visit to London, the relaxed pace of the Languedoc region was a tonic for our senses. When we arrived at O’Vineyards – a fifteen-minute drive in the car we rented in Carcassonne – we immediately knew we had come to the right place. With vineyards as far as the eye can see, we felt restored by the gorgeous landscape.
O’Vineyards is a family-owned venture, and our time there felt like we were staying with friends. We were greeted by Liz O’Connell, who made us feel immediately at home and offered us a glass of their gorgeous syrah. It was a sip of heaven. The Chateau at Domaine ‘O, which serves both as Bed & Breakfast and as the O’Connell home, is cozy and beautiful with its high ceilings and interesting selection of art on the walls.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the real doyenne of O’Vineyards is Muse, the shepherd mix who loves hanging out with guests. Muse *actually* took us on a tour of the vineyards, showing us her favorite route. She was a patient guide, running ahead and then waiting for us to catch up, and coming back to us whenever we called. For dog lovers like us, Muse made a huge contribution to our enjoyment of O’Vineyards. She is smart and enthusiastic about her job as a hostess, and is very much a part of all activities at the winery.
After we had settled in a bit, we met our fellow guests and met up with winemaker Joe O’Connell for the human-led version of the vineyard tour. Joe showed us the various pruning techniques used on their vines, explained how the grapes are harvested, and then led us to the fermenting room, where we got to try an unusual white varietal called chasan – delicious with a refreshing pineapple flavor – as well as a young syrah. The wines we sampled in the fermenting room were works-in-progress, poured straight from the giant steel fermenters, cloudy and unfiltered, but they tasted great.
The O’Connell family hail from the US, but speak fluent French, making Domaine ‘O a comfortable place for English speakers, or, even better, the ideal place to practice French. In the evening, we settled down at the long table in the chateau's huge living room for dinner with our fellow guests and a local French couple who were friends with Joe and Liz. The wine kept flowing (this time, it included Joe’s amazing Merlot reserve), and so did the multilingual conversation. Liz is an amazing cook. Our meal was full of diverse flavors, with potatoes and brie wrapped in puff pastry, shrimp in an addictive garlicky sauce, rice, ratatouille, salmon, steak, more pastries filled with pear and cheese, and an apple/chocolate pie for dessert. All of it was delicious, and the quality of the food and wine, combined with a beautiful atmosphere and fascinating conversation, made this one of our top ten meals of all time.
After we had stuffed ourselves to the gills, we returned to our room, which featured a huge bathroom, tons of closet space and a small private deck overlooking the vines. We fell into the incredibly comfortable bed and enjoyed one of the best sleeps of our lives.
Liz and Joe put a lot of care and attention to detail into everything they do, and it came through in their warm hospitality, delicious meals and terrific wines. We were sad to leave Domaine O'Vineyards, and will definitely come back if we’re ever in the region again.
- Also Known As:
- O'Vineyards Bed & Breakfast - Carcassonne France/Villemoustaussou
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy a full Wine & Food Experience just ten minutes from Carcassonne castle. Many bottles of O'wines during your stay! Perched atop a beautiful, fully-functioning vineyard with down to earth, wine-slurping hosts. Everybody's welcome and you don't need to know a lot about wine to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a vineyard in the south of France. ... more less