This winter is a special one for Sylvie Vacheron, the vineyard owner, as “Le Clos du Caillou” is celebrating 60 years since its foundation. A source of pride for this property in Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf du Pape, as well as a surge of memories…
Patricia Alexandre and her husband fell in love with the Luberon, its insight and its secret corners. After buying their first estate (Domaine Faverot), they’ve now created another (the Domaine des Peyre) in an old abandoned wine farm.
For several years now the winegrowers of Château Pesquié have been welcoming wine enthusiasts. On fine days visitors can even take advantage of this superb setting for picnics. You are given a wicker basket filled with local produce and the estate’s wine and then it’s up to you, enjoy a country meal in an idyllic setting!
The Berthet-Rayne family settled in Courthezon four generations ago. This is where they tend their vineyards, to the north-east of the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation (some of their vines are over 100 years old!!!) on a clay and limestone soil with lots of rounded rocks, typical of the appellation.
Since man has been making wine – and deriving great pleasure from it – he has celebrated the end of the past year, good or bad, by drawing the new wine from the vat. This young wine is like a newborn crying for the first time, which is sometimes a little hard to take, but often heralds wonders for the palate. As Millévin approaches, the great autumnal gathering in Avignon celebrating new wine, I went to Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes to meet the young and friendly team of winemakers from Chantecôtes, to taste their new wine and find out if cooperatives can produce superb wines. It was a Bacchanalian encounter with Sainte Cécile, patron saint of musicians and Saint Vincent, patron saint of winegrowers.
At Château d’Hugues, located between Uchaux and Sérignan, the beautiful red hue of the estate’s wines matches the red velvet theatre curtain and the red paint on the artist’s palette. In addition to growing grape vines, owner, Bernard Pradier, also cultivates a passion for the arts, staging events in a large building on the estate. This summer, he’s preparing a genuine mini-festival: this winegrower-showman has decided to return to the stage, glass in hand, to retrace the history of the vineyard and introduce a range of musicians and poets.
Suzette is a little village perched on the Dentelles de Montmirail, a breath of fresh air, a Garden of Eden not far from Beaumes de Venise and an outstanding area for wine. It was here, several years ago, that Sylvie and Bernard Mendez set up Domaine Beauvalcinte with the aim to make wine as good as it is organic. I went to pay them a visit…
Vacqueyras is a delicious appellation from the Southern Rhône Valley, a region boasting a diverse terroir with superb landscapes and wine-growers who’ve been in the business for generations.The Vignerons de Caractère Cooperative plays a key role in the wine industry, in this quiet, little part of the country, and fully intends to keep it that way. Since it was created in 1957, it has witnessed constant innovation and successfully anticipated important trends in wine-making.Nearly 100 cooperative members contribute grapes from their vineyards – a great source of pride to them – and the winery doesn’t disappoint; every year, its magnificent vats produce no fewer than thirty fine wines. After a short trip to this immense battleship of a winery, it’s lunch at L’Éloge, the winery’s unusual restaurant.
Try a nice wine – it’s so good. Make it yourself and take your bottle away with you – now that’s magic! Come to Maison Lavau, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, where I create my own wine, for a very enjoyable workshop.
A huge chestnut cask dating from the 14th century and video screens, a giant press from the 16th and a museum of more up-to-date items; the Châteauneuf du Pape Wine Museum has been revamped. This third-generation museum is far from the conventional idea of a dusty museum full of old tools!