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Provence Vineyard Tours

Tour Details :

What You Will Learn

All tours take you into the heart of the vineyards. The remote vineyard parcels that we visit are located in some of the most scenic and dramatic landscapes in Provence - it is only by getting into these vineyards that you can truly appreciate the souls of the wines that you taste.

Terroir - an explanation of how the unique location of each vineyard parcel (its "terroir") influences the wines that we taste.

We start by visiting beautiful hill-side vineyard parcels from both domaines.

Vintage Variation - an explanation of how and why different vintages (years) produce different wine styles for the "same" wine.

Vine-growing - Quality wine needs quality grapes. I show you how the vine-grower works the vineyard to produce only the best possible grapes.

Appellation - wines are labeled according to where they come from (the "appellation") and not according to the grape varieties. I explain how appellation labeling works and its link to "terroir".

Winemaking - As we tour the cellar an explanation of how winemaking techniques influence the wines that we taste.

Then, at the wine cellars:

Grape Varieties - Identifying key tasting differences between the Rhone varieties.

Included in Each Tour

For each tour we provide:
A small selection of cheeses and biscuits with which to taste the wines. This helps us understand how the each wine can be appreciated with different foods.
Information card(s) giving details (grape varieties, terroir, winemaking) in a standard format about all the wines that we taste.
Map of the Southern Rhone indicating the generic Cote du Rhone area, the named Cotes du Rhone Villages and the top "cru" Villages.

Testimonial

"We sincerely appreciate the high level of service you offer our clients and couldn't be more enthusiastic about suggesting your tours. We know how pleased our clients will be and how their time with you will be a special part of their time in Provence. Every good wish, Kelly"

Sandra Myers & Don Walker, USA
Salut! We have just got back from our whirlwind visit to France and I wanted to let you know that we found the St Gayan Gigondas in our local wine shop! How easy was that! Needless to say, we bought a case. Thank you so much for our wonderful day with you. It was the highlight of our trip. Don & I have been on numerous wine tours before, particularly in Napa, but our tour with you was something special. Thank you! Sandra Myers p.s. thanks also for the lunch recommendation at Les Florets. The food was to die for!

Tour: Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Chris Flynn & Wendy Jones, UK
Dear Olivier, Just to thank you for last Monday's very stimulating tour of the vineyards of Grand Veneur and De la Janasse. We learn something on each occasion with you. Fortunately some is retained. See you in June with luck. Best Regards

Tour: Chateauneuf-du-Pape & Gigondas
Chan and Kellie
"Olivier, Just wanted to let you know we made the train to Cannes ... with no time to spare! Thanks for a great day of wine tasting!!"

Tours: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Rasteau & Vacqueyras
Mark et al
"Olivier, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. I would like to take credit for my professional photography skills; however, it wouldn't be true. It helps to have suitable subject matter and a decent camera that does all the work. Again, thanks for an informative and memorable trip. I know my colleagues would join me without hesitation in recommending your services. Best Regards, John" "Hi Olivier, You did a great job for us and made our wine experience a really great one. Best regards"

Tour: Rasteau
Bob & Ros Wilson
"Hi Olivier, thanks for the Domaine Soumade importer details. We have just ordered two cases of the Cuve Confiance 2004. Ros & I had a marvellous time with you. Your tour was so refreshingly different - it was great to actually see the vineyards and their "terroir!" before tasting the wines. Every time I open a bottle of the Rasteau I know I will have that image of those amazing 100 year-old vines. All the best of luck with your business."

Tour: Vacqueyras
The Hackers
"Olivier, We wanted to thank you again for your incredibly informative tour of Vacqueyras last week. The wines from Domaine la Garrigue were extraordinary. I still cannot believe they make such amazing wines in that ancient cellar. Seeing that old wooden press in action - fantastic! You'd never see a winery like that here in Oz! best regards."

Tours: Chateauneuf-du-Pape & Gigondas
Simon & Mel
"Dear Olivier, just a quick note to say how much we enjoyed our two wine tours with you. Finally, I get terroir! Our time with you really has changed the way we appreciate wines. We are very grateful for the experience."

Domaine's Visited

We only conduct guided visits to those wine estates that, in Olivier's view, make great wines, and within each wine village he has selected estates producing different styles of wines so you can appreciate the incredibly diverse range of wine styles produced within the Southern Rhone.

He has an in-depth knowledge of each of the estates - their philosophy, history, vineyard terroir, vine-growing and winemaking methods - and of course their wines! In almost all cases he conduct the entire visits.

The key areas visited are:

Chateauneuf-du-Pape
A characteristic terroir of Chateauneuf-du-Pape has a layer of stones called galets ("pebbles"). The rocks are typically quartzite and remnants of Alpine glaciers that have been smoothed over millennia by the Rhone River. The stone retains heat during the day and releases it at night which can have an effect of hastening the ripening of grapes. The stones can also serve as a protective layer to help retain moisture in the soil during the dry summer months. Some of the most prestigious vineyards in the area, like Chateau Rayas, have more traditional looking vineyards without the galets. These are most often vineyards located on south-facing slopes where the night-time radiated heat from the stones would be detrimental to the vines and cause overripening of the grapes. In most red Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache noir is the most common variety, although some producers use a higher proportion of Mourvedre. Grenache produces a sweet juice that can have almost a jam-like consistency when very ripe. Syrah is typically blended to provide color and spice, while Mourvedre can add elegance and structure to the wine. Some estates produce varietal(100%) Grenache noir, while a few producers insist on using at least a token amount of all thirteen permitted varieties in their blend. Chateauneuf-du-Pape red wines are often described as earthy with gamy flavors that have hints of tar and leather.The wines are considered tough and tannic in their youth but maintain their rich, spiciness as they age. The wines often exhibit aromas of dried herbs common in Provence under the name of garrigue. Although generally considered full-bodied and powerful wines, the wines are usually lower in tannin than the Syrah-dominated wines of northern Rhone, and tend to have aromas of red fruits (such as raspberries) rather than dark fruits.

Gigondas
Gigondas is known for its power rather than its elegance. Some parts of the appellation are warmer than Chateauneuf-du-Pape, bringing the generous Grenache grape close to fortified strength in alcohol. While some rose is produced, the appellation draws its prestige from its reds. Gigondas, along with the rest of Southern Rhone has a Mediterranean climate that differs from its northern neighbour, which has a more continental climate. The main geographical feature in Gigondas is the Dentelles de Montmirail, a small range of mountains that divide the appellation in two distinct areas - one with a cooler climate and one with a hotter. But height is also an important factor, as wine is being harvested as high as 600 meters

Vacqueyras
Vacqueyras is, like Gigondas, known for its power rather than its elegance. The backbone of the wine is Grenache, however producers of Vacqueyras use more Syrah than is used in Gigondas which can make the style seem cooler. Located only a few kilometers south of Gigondas, Vacqueyras shares much of the same terroir with vineyards located in 100 to 400 meters altitude. The best vineyards are found on Plateau de Garrigues. In the lowland it's warmer resulting in more powerful and often unelegant wines.

Rasteau
Sablet
Seguret
Cote de Ventoux

Details

Your Wine Expert

Your Wine Expert

Olivier

Whilst continuing a day job in London (as a Financial Controller) Olivier obtained his final wine qualifications in 1998 and in 1999 started a wine importing business with a friend from his student days at Cambridge selling Rhone wines. Keen to put some of my theoretical knowledge into practice, he made his first wine in the Languedoc in 2000 and have been making wine every vintage since then. In 2003 he moved permanently to Provence.

Wine Tasting
Rhone Terroir
Red Wine Pouring
Vines
Labels

From Terroir to Tastings in the Southern Rhone Region

Visitors to France search for good food and wine. But how do you know which wine domaines to visit? What will the welcome be like? Who makes the average wines and who makes the great wines? And, if you French is rusty, will you be able to talk to the producers (most of whom speak little or no English) about their wines?

Our day in the vineyards and cellars will help you answer these questions.

You can only truly appreciate the soul of a great French wine by visiting the vineyard in which it has its origins. It is amidst beautiful Provencal vineyards that you will learn how the quality and characteristics and of the wines that you taste are derived from the unique "terroir"of each vineyard and the loving attention and toil of the vine-grower.

When talking about wine it is impossible to ignore the notion of "terroir", a concept that is shrouded in mystery and is responsible for much of the mystique surrounding wine. Yet it is the influence of vineyard terroir that marks the enormous cultural difference between wines made in France and wines produced in the rest of the world.

So what exactly is "terroir" and how does it influence wine? We'll gets to grips with this elusive concept and demonstrate, in a fun and accessible way, how different terroir, grape varieties, vine-growing and winemaking methods determine the wines that you taste.

Each tour compares wines from different leading domaines. We can offer 2 3 and 4 estate visits with a very special tasting lunch at a wine grower who specializes in bio dynamic wines.

Private Tour Prices for up to 4 persons with Tastings

Half-day 2 estates Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Start morning or afternoon

Duration up to 4 hours (door-to-door)

Costs: 350€

 

Half-day 2 estates La Verriere & Gigondas estate

Start morning or afternoon

Duration up to 4 hours 30 mins (door-to-door)

Cost: 375€ plus 40 euros per person for tasting lunch

 

Full day 3 estates La Verriere & Gigondas estate & Chateauneuf estate

Start 10.15 am Avignon, return (approx) 5.30 pm Avignon

Cost: 500€ plus 40 euros per person for tasting lunch

 

Prices include pick up at Avignon or surrounds otherwise you will meet Olivier at a pre-determined location.

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