“In my view, a starred chef doesn’t belong on a wine estate”, begins Philippe Chauvin, the owner of La Font des Pères. As the entrepreneur – who has transformed the estate over the last ten years – describes his restaurant’s menu, the suggestions may deter aficionados of healthy food: “Poached egg with sea urchin roe, a selection of caviars, white pudding from poultry from the estate with chestnut and creamy mushrooms, brioche bread pudding with eggs from the estate…”. Branded a “farm inn”, a local cuisine is served using fresh ingredients, most of which are from the grounds of the property. The henhouse, for example, provides eggs and poultry which is prepared onsite. The vegetable garden, meanwhile, is currently spreading its roots (and varieties) from now to the summer months.
Font des Pères: a special atmosphere
Roaring one’s engine to climb the almost vertical path to the estate is an experience in itself. But at the top: the reward! From the farm inn’s terrace, the view takes in the Sainte Baume and Mont Caume. The 14 adjacent hectares of vines cover the terraces and plots below. It is easy to imagine, in fair weather, parasols stretched gently and the sound of forks clinking the plates. Would the owner call it rustic chic? We guessed right. Philippe Chauvin makes sure to enjoy introducing his clientele to his wines. A Bandol 2016 or an IGP Mont Caume 2017 for this one? A rosé de garde with caviar? His summer red, meanwhile, is as fresh and compelling as you could dream of, with notes of cherry. This caviar specialist and his wife Caroline, it must be said, chose a good setting in which to produce good wine. The original 6 hectares, cultivated as AOP Bandol have become 8 on this north-facing vineyard, in addition to a plot of IGP and several hectares of Côtes de Provence. The first organic vintage will be in 2023. The farm inn, for its part, has grown entirely on the hill, whilst the estate below continues to bloom.
Stay for at least a night at La Font des Pères
Passionate about construction, Philippe Chauvin is of the kind that never stops. Over the years, little by little, he has acquired and renovated the villas– now known as Les Pères and Les Vallons- which he rents together or by the room (or apartment) to professionals and individuals. Next to the swimming pool, an open-air café and barbecue is set to open in the summer, promising wonderful evenings sheltered from the mistral! And some more good news: a spa is planned.
La Font des Pères is a multifaceted place, which has been constructed with care, one can feel it, but there is nothing intimidating about it. The wine, dishes and accomodation blend harmoniously.
Menu: 33 €. From 90€ per room. La Font des Pères – 1306 Chemin de Pontillaou 83330 Le Beausset – Tel. 04 94 15 21 21 www.lafontdesperes.com