Following a distinguished culinary career spanning more than thirty years in the gastronomic spotlight, chef and founder of the Patina Group, Joachim Splichal, fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning a Provençal winery when he purchased a vineyard in the heart of Provence: Domaine de Cala.
The winery represents a return to his Provençal roots where Chef Splichal began his culinary career as a fledgling cook, and perfected his culinary training at Michelin two- and three-star restaurants along the Côte d’Azur, including the Chantecler at Hotel Negresco in Nice, L’Oasis in La Napoule, and La Bonne Auberge in Antibes. Moving to Los Angeles in 1981 with great aspirations but few personal belongings, his career continued to flourish and he became an unrivaled talent and Los Angeles food scene icon.
Throughout his illustrious career, he has not forgotten the seed planted in his formative years, and Provence has remained close to his heart. “Food and wine are in my blood,” states Splichal. So, in 2015, he answered this lifelong yearning with Domaine de Cala, the name an homage to the place where his career and restaurant empire flourished: Los Angeles, California.
The picturesque estate is located about an hour’s drive from Cannes, outside the medieval town of Brignoles, where venerable rosés are produced. Today the estate constitutes 600 acres, with 120 acres of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. Composed of a healthy mix of soils and a broad amount of parcels with different expositions and elevation, the estate had already been producing premium rosé for more than 60 years. The property hosts wild boar and other game that roam among the truffle trees, a 19th century chateau adjacent to a newly renovated bastide, as well as a brand new winery. A luxurious tasting room will be unveiled in the Spring of 2020, also serving cocktails and beer, and featuring an all organic menu with vegetables grown on the property.
With the goal of making world-class wines, Splichal brought on board his twin sons Nicolas and Stephàne as partners. He hired a top winemaking team including internationally renowned winery consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt to create the red wine and oversee winery operations, followed by winemaker Bruno Tringali, an expert in Provençal rosé.
I love to drink rosé, especially as summer approaches. To my delight, I was invited to taste the wonderful rosés produced by Domaine de Cala. I started with the 2018 Domaine de Cala Rosé ($15.95), a lovely varietal blend that was fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel. That was followed by the Domaine de Cala Prestige Rosé, an even lovelier (slightly higher priced at $24.95) estate-grown blend, aged for three months in barrels with frequent battonage. Both wines offer refreshing hints of floral and citrus flavours.
Just as Chef Splichal has always created the most innovative, sublime food at his restaurants, so too his passion to create the best flavours and expression of the terroir reflects in every bottle.
Domaine de Cala
703 Chemin de la Pelegrine
83170 Brignoles, France