By Katie Edgerley
Head down the coast away from the glamour of St. Tropez and you’ll find yourself in the more rugged but nevertheless extremely beautiful area of Ramatuelle. Travel further down a bumpy and beaten track and you’ll arrive at Domaine La Torraque, one of the most beautiful vineyards in Provence. Stretching across 40 hectares of land, Domaine de Torraque has been cultivating wine and olive oil since 1805 and has recently obtained the Label Bio Ecocert. Wine tastings at Domaine de Torraque are free, but to really experience the beauty of the place, pay the €28 to receive a guided tour around the vineyards in a 4x4 with the winemaker himself and learn about the high quality white, red and rosé wines he produces.
Located 25km north of Montpellier, the vineyard at Chateau de Valflaunès covers 13 hectares with extraordinarily beautiful views of Mont Hortus and Pic Saint Loup. The winemaker, Fabien Reboul, has won several awards for his wines, which are made from meticulously hand-harvested grapes. Fabien shows such a passion for his products that it’s easy to see why he is so celebrated in the wine-world. Taste his fresh and delicious wines whilst sitting back and enjoying the stunning mountainous landscape around you!
A stone’s throw away from the prestigious (in terms of viticulture and winemaking) area of Bandol, where wineries typically charge around €30 a bottle, is the relatively small and down to earth Domaine de l’Estagnol. The owner, Sandrine Feraud, is a sixth-generation viticultrice who takes great care and pride in her vineyard and wines that cost around €14 euros a bottle. Perched on a hilltop, Domaine de l’Estagnol has stunning views over the sea and can be visited between 9am and 12.30pm, or from 3pm to 7pm daily.
Hidden away in the tranquil little town of Fuissé, La Source des Fées is as enchanting as its name suggests. The winery produces two white wines: Saint-Veran and Pouilly-Fuisse, and a sparkling rosé: Les Fées Bulles (Fairy Bubbles), which you can enjoy whilst relaxing in the beautiful gardens outside the sixteenth-century manor house, or you can buy some from the shop, along with locally-made cheeses, jams and vinegars. La Source des Fées offers tours around the vineyards and wine cellars, as well as alfresco lunches or dinners prepared by the talented onsite chef.
Tucked away in the Vallée des Borrels, Domaine des Trois Chênes has a beautifully picturesque location, which can be reached within around 20 minutes by car from the Côte d’Azur. The winemaker, Régis Scarone, creates exquisite wines from his 50-year-old vines, from which the grapes are handpicked, using old fashioned cement vats for the white and rosé wines and a combination of new and old barrels for the reds. Domaine des Trois Chênes has been run by Régis’ family for four generations, so it’s no wonder he takes such care in his work and has such a passion for his wines.
Although the vineyards of Chateau du Clos no longer produce wine, the estate is still a fascinating place for wine-enthusiasts to learn about Burgundy’s rich history of winemaking. The Clos de Vougeot vineyard was created by monks in the 12th Century and the Renaissance-style chateau was added in the 16th Century, so the beautiful architecture is steeped in history. The vineyards stretch across a vast 125 acres of land and are the perfect place for a stroll. The estate is open to visitors seven days a week, and can also be hired for weddings.
Established in the late 1998 by the Scottish Mckinlay family, Domaine de Mourchon is a relatively modern winery located at the foot of Mont Ventoux. Its location in a secluded valley near the quaint village of Séguret, along with its mountain views, gives Domaine de Mourchon a peaceful and majestic atmosphere. Every Wednesday evening throughout the Spring and Summer months, the winery offers free tours of the vineyards and wine cellars in English, as well as wine tasting afterwards. With its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, this is the perfect place to learn about the viticulture and to try some beautiful white, red and rosé wines.