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Darren72

Vineyards to visit in Provence/Southern Rhone

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Hello - my wife and I will be visiting Provence and the Southern Rhone later this year and we'd love to visit some vineyards. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

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Thanks! Domaine Tempier was one of my old favorites, but I haven't had any in a while. I was under the impression that their vineyards are not open to the public for tasting. Am I wrong about this?

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Domaine de Durban in Beaumes de Venise has an incredible setting with stunning views. Their Muscat is excellent, but I think their vielles vignes red is underrated and very good value.

If you're more interested in tasting than the vineyeard itself, and you like rose, there's a wonderful co-operative in the centre of Tavel which will let you taste from all the local Tavel and Lirac producers.

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One option is to simply drive to the general area for Cote du Rhone Villages or into Chateauneuf du Papes and you will find vineyards and Cave Cooperatives round just about every corner. If you can I would certainly suggest visiting Chateauneuf for lunch if nothing else.

More specifically we tend to go back to Chateau Pesquie whenever we are in the area - they have a good range of reds as well as some good rose and an interesting Viognier.

As others have said the Cave Cooperatives in most places are good for tasting a range of wines - including Beaumes de Venise, Rasteau and Gigondas. If you haven't tried it before then do try the sweet Rasteau wines (red and white).

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One option is to simply drive to the general area for Cote du Rhone Villages or into Chateauneuf du Papes and you will find vineyards and Cave Cooperatives round just about every corner. If you can I would certainly suggest visiting Chateauneuf for lunch if nothing else.

More specifically we tend to go back to Chateau Pesquie whenever we are in the area - they have a good range of reds as well as some good rose and an interesting Viognier.

As others have said the Cave Cooperatives in most places are good for tasting a range of wines - including Beaumes de Venise, Rasteau and Gigondas. If you haven't tried it before then do try the sweet Rasteau wines (red and white).

I would disagree about the Coops, I find they usually (not always, of course) serve basic, uninteresting plonk. Now, mind you, I am a wine geek and in the business, so I might be slightly biased. But what Judy says about driving to Chateauneuf is correct: I was there a few days ago and can confirm you can just pop into many domaines to do a tasting.

For starters, there's Pierre Usseglio, Bosquet des Papes, Vieux Donjon, Vieille Julienne (not in CdP but close by), Font de Michelle (also nearby), all of which require no appointments (though it never hurts to call to ensure they're open). All of these make interesting wines, usually in a nice range of price points.

And the town of Chateauneuf, while small, is easily walkable.

Cheers! :cool:

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But what Judy says about driving to Chateauneuf is correct: I was there a few days ago and can confirm you can just pop into many domaines to do a tasting.

For starters, there's Pierre Usseglio, Bosquet des Papes, Vieux Donjon, Vieille Julienne (not in CdP but close by), Font de Michelle (also nearby), all of which require no appointments (though it never hurts to call to ensure they're open).  All of these make interesting wines, usually in a nice range of price points.

And the town of Chateauneuf, while small, is easily walkable.

Cheers!  :cool:

Thanks for noting that many don't require appointments. I was under the impression that appointments are the norm, but I'm happy to hear that this isn't the case.

Thanks to everyone for so many good suggestions! We just made hotel reservations for one night at Bastide de Marie in Menerbes and then a few nights at Domaine de la Ponce in Vacqueyras.

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Thanks! Domaine Tempier was one of my old favorites, but I haven't had any in a while. I was under the impression that their vineyards are not open to the public for tasting. Am I wrong about this?

Domaine Tempier is open to the public for tasting... at least it was two years ago.

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We have been traveling to the area for 10 years and visited a number of excellent wineries.

I would highly recommend in Chateauneuf: Vieux Telegraphe, La Nerthe and Domaine de la Janasse, all of which were particularly welcoming to us; with Beaucastel being somewhat more formal but worth the visit. All require advance reservations.

On this last trip we went to some lesser known addresses - Durban (the drive up is spectacular - the Beaume de Venice a treat); Domaine Fondreche (excellent Cotes du Ventoux producer who is just now getting international recognition); Domaine du Tix (a relatively new winery at the top of the hill outside of Mormoiron run by a couple who left Paris permanently and started up this winery - worth the visit to see how people realize "the dream" - and the wine is good too); and probably our favourite on this trip Domaine de Mourchon perched above Seguret. The owner Walter McKinlay was obviously a very successful English businessman who sold his company and built this winery from the ground up. He is a lovely guy, and will serve his wine to you personally. The wine is excellent - the Rose was the best we had in the area on this trip, and his Grande Reserve and Family Reserve bottlings are getting very positive reviews from the critics. Don't be discouraged by the "track" that leads up to the winery - it's there at the end of a one-lane road that winds up to the top of the hill.

Enjoy your trip.


Edited by Vine (log)

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By the way - if you are in the South of Provence (near Staint-Etienne-du-

Gres and Les Baux) I would highly recommend Domaine de Trevallon.

Reservations are strictly required as one gets the distinct impression that Eloi Durrbach would rather not have visitors (when we went his wife had neglected to tell him to expect visitors that day and he was not amused), but beneath the gruff facade is a lovely, generous man who is passionate about his wine. He personally spend some considerable time with us explaining the terroir (which was literally "blasted" out of the stone hills surrounding the estate), tasting a number of different vintages and helping us select our purchase.

This is not wine for the timid - it requires a minimum (at least) of 10 years aging (we have one bottle each of the 1998 and 1999 left that we purchased on our visit - should have left all 3 of each until now or later), but is worth the wait. A superb place to visit.

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I can add a couple of extra suggestions to your list, mainly places that are open without needing an appointment. If you're going to be there during vintage then it's probably better to stick to the places that are set up for visitors. In the smaller vineyards, where the vigneron takes time out from his or her work to show you the vineyard and give you a tasting, they will be frantically busy then. And even places that are open to the public close for a couple of hours for lunch (including Domaine Tempier) - in Provence commonsense still rules at lunchtime.

If you get to the area around Mormorion, Château Unang is also worth a visit. Like Fondreche and Pesquie already mentioned, they're another Ventoux producer that's improving the quality of Ventoux wines (disclaimer - we import Unang wines to Australia). Our other favourite is Saint Jean du Barroux, which we also import, but Phillipe Gimel, one of the most passionate vignerons in the Ventoux, is very much a one man band and so not likely to be available during vintage. He welcomes visitors, providing you're willing spend time in the vineyard, without which he says you can’t understand his wines. If you were to visit him you'd agree.

Château Valcombe (near Mazan and Fondreche) is also is open to the public without appointment. (Its owner Paul Jeune is also a producer in Châteauneuf du Pâpe and he has a wine shop in Avignon called Le Vigneron Rebelle, which has some great wines.)

In the Luberon, Chateau Val Joannis and Chateau la Canorgue are two good addresses as well.

In Gigondas, there is a tasting centre in the heart of the village which carries the wines of many of local producers. It's a good way to try this excellent appellation.

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