Generation after generation, the great red wines of Provence only gain in nobility and fame. Just like these four reference estates, it gives pride of place to traditional sustainable agriculture.
And to pay honour to whom honour is due, Château de Pibarnon undoubtedly produces one of the greatest wines of southern Provence. At an average of 300 metres (984ft) above sea level, Pibarnon dominates the entire Bandol vineyard in a vast amphitheatre sheltered from the Mistral wind. Catherine and Henri de Saint Victor have devoted their energy to this estate for decades, gradually restructuring it to extend it over 52 hectares (128 acres). Éric de Saint Victor, who has been at the helm since the 2000s, continued his parents' work with panache, putting his mark and bringing his own ambitions to it. Everything is done to reveal harmonious wines with powerful and complex bouquets. The vineyard has been organically cultivated since 2004 as part of a perfectly natural approach, without seeking to make a selling point of it or to gain some certification.
The 2016 red Château de Pibarnon, made from a blend of Mourvèdre (90%) and Grenache (10%), presents a beautiful personality made up of red and black fruits, spices and minerality. As for pairing, this great vintage is a perfect accompaniment to pressed duck, wild bass or a nice steak of beef, of course. As for truffle, it works every time (a friendly 100% #SoBARNES tip)!
The power of the La Madrague estate
And now, a change of scenery with the Domaine de la Madrague, which directly overlooks the beach of Gigaro, in the bay of Saint-Tropez. The vines of La Madrague are cultivated organically or by a draft horse and harvested entirely by hand.
The Claire, Charlotte, César, Charles and Gaspard cuvées took the names of the owner's daughters and grandsons. They each have their own specific characteristics. Like the César cuvée (mourvèdre and syrah), grown biodynamically under the influence of the lunar cycle, it is vinified in wooden vats then matured in an earthenware amphora for 12 months. The colour is deep red, the nose powerful with notes of small red fruits, for a perfect wine pairing with a beef Tournedos Rossini or a Hare à la Royale.
The finesse of Les Lauves
Also in Bandol, the Cuvée Les Lauves from Domaine La Suffrène is currently being converted to organic farming. On this plot, known as the “hutch”, the terraces, which are part of the estate's heritage, provide several agronomic and landscaped benefits. They limit erosion, collect runoff water, split up the runoff, structure the landscape and more.
The process of reducing the use of phytosanitary products is complex. Treatments are carried out at night and the interventions are limited to the strictly necessary, and are adapted to the climatic conditions. A blend of Mourvèdre (90%) and old Carignan (10%), the Cuvée Les Lauves develops a fine, dense and complex nose with notes of spices and garrigue and a hint of mint. The mouth is powerful, with plenty of character. The tannic structure is dense and the finish fresh and long.
The legend of Trévallon
Because at #SoBARNES, we are not afraid to say what we think, we dare to conclude this overview by affirming that Trévallon 2017 is a masterpiece! This is an exceptional bottle that already commands respect and impresses, despite its youth, with its extreme elegance. The Domaine de Trévallon (IGP Alpilles) in all its splendour. When he planted his first hectares of vines in 1973, Eloi Dürrbach had no idea that he was writing the first page of an estate that would become part of Provençal legend. Today, Trévallon is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful vineyards in Provence. This 17-hectare (42-acre) gem is the focus of everyone’s attention, but with the least possible intervention. The legend continues with Eloi Dürrbach's daughter, Ostiane, who has now taken over the estate alongside her father. They also continue their non-interventionist approach, with no destemming, yeasting or sulphiting.
The 2017 vintage is masterful. A blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a ruby colour with purple reflections and a powerful nose with notes of red fruits and pepper. The mouth is full-bodied and suave and the freshness very present. Trévallon 2017: while it can be appreciated now, it still deserves a few years of ageing.
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