Provençal wines

During part of the summer this year, I was lucky enough to be able to stay at my parents’ place in Provence. It’s been many years since I first left home and it’s wonderful to be ‘back’! This time though it’s different, in particular the location. Having a base among the beautiful French Provencal summer countryside, with plenty of wineries to explore and historic French villages, not to mention the opportunity to try lots of amazing cheese and Provençal wine, well what an opportunity!

While I’ve been here I visited Domaine de la Bastidonne just outside of the village; Cabrières d’Avignon. The Marreau family has owned the 30 hectare domaine for about 100 years and is now run by the fourth generation, Gérard who has been at the helm since 1990. After leaving school Gérard studied oenology at Dijon and worked 10 years in Champagne including two years at Krug while studying and then returned to run the family vineyard. His two sons are now also involved in the business.

It’s a lovely winery located in the Luberon in Provence, just on the outskirts of the village Cabrières-d’Avignon. Facing south to the Vaucluse Mountains, it is a picturesque winery with its rich history. Just off a private courtyard is the cellar door, with the entrance decorated with plants and so, lovely and cool on a hot 30 degree day! Here you can taste and buy the wine direct at the cellar door, open every day except Sundays and public holidays.

They make two appellations here; Côte du Ventoux and Vin de Pays. For AOC Ventoux reds and rosés, they plant and use Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Marsellan. For the AOC Ventoux whites, they use Clairette, Roussanne and Grenache blanc, Viognier. For the vins de pays de Vaucluse reds; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Caladoc is used and Chardonnay for the whites.

Each year they produce eighty thousand bottles plus what they make for the bag in box wines. I’ve tasted these and they are fantastic value, 15 euros for the rosé, yes please! About 70% of the harvest is done by machine and the rest by hand.

I love their three rosés, in particular the two that are bottled (the third is packaged in a bag in box). The bottles wines are left on its skins for just 3-4 hours before being pressed. These two rosés are made up of 55% Syrah and 45% Grenache while the other one is of 80% Grenache, 5% Syrah and very interesting to note…15% Vermentino.

For their white wines and rosés, they make 6000 bottles per hectare and for the reds, it’s 2,600 bottles per hectare.

Since 2000, they’ve planted 200 olive trees and making their own olive oil with their 1 hectare of plantings. Maybe one day I’ll be able to taste the wine in Australia but it’s just a bit expensive with all the taxes and freight!

Next week they will start the harvest with the Chardonnay and Viognier, I wish them all the best!