Discovering our Roquebrun winegrowers
Roquebrune-sur-Argens and its vines – it really is quite something!
If I were to be told a tale of wine, the wine would be from Roquebrun. This is not just because it benefits from certain undeniable qualities, appearing blessed by Dionysus himself who has graciously bestowed it with elegance and subtlety. It is also because the wine is, above all, a story of Men, of passionate country folk who never cease in their quest to entice this precious gift of nature to bear fruit.
Let us take you on a trip through the vineyards of Roquebrune sur Argens via its history and interviews with the domain owners.
Let’s first go along the golf course road, in the direction of Saint-Tropez. The renowned Château Vaudois can be found on the edge of the Vallée du Fournel. Here, we are warmly welcomed by Christelle Delli-Zotti, who now manages an estate which has been owned by her parents, Marie and Gérard, since 1988.
The 100 hectares of garrigue, 18 of which are dedicated to the production of exceptional wines, benefit from a location which guarantees constant sunshine. The vineyard produces unique, elegant and refined wine in three colours in the AOC Côte de Provence and PGI Les Maures. The cellar from where the wine can be bought has a magnificent view of the vineyard. This prestigious establishment also has two charming, Mediterranean-style modern reception rooms.
Passion – Communication – Sharing
This could be the Delli-Zotti family motto, and the motto for Christelle in particular. She has known how to successfully showcase with sophistication the gifts of a terroir so blessed by nature. Château Vaudois, a prestigious landmark in the Var, also excels in the communication of its expertise and history. It is the place to go to if you want to share a beautiful, unique moment of pure enjoyment in life during a private or professional event. Here, you can savour wine workshops, enjoy a picnic in the vineyard or a visit to the cellar, as well as exhibitions of sculptures or photographs, or even festivals like ‘les musicales dans les vignes’ (musicals in the vineyard) which will be taking place on 1 August. Château Vaudois, which has had the Qualité Tourisme accreditation since 2019, is designed to amaze you.
It is also worth noting that Château Vaudois is a member of the luxury group Delli-Resort, which also includes the 5-star Daya Hôtel & Spa (located in the heart of one of the most prestigious 5-star golf courses in the Côte d’Azur), the Golf de Roquebrune Resort, La Table de Louis (a Maitre-Restaurateur accredited restaurant) and the Darko Beach (a bar/restaurant with a private beach).
Domaine des Planes
Our trip now continues to the splendid Domaine des Planes, a real corner of paradise located 100 m above sea level in the Les Maures hills.
The estate includes 35 hectares of vines, sheltered by forests of oak, pine, mimosa and eucalyptus and overlooking the Gulf of Fréjus-Saint Raphael.
Ilse Rieder and her son David welcome us when we arrive. In the completely relaxed atmosphere, we are gently lulled listening to the story of the estate.
The Domaine des Planes is, above all, a family venture which has lasted for over 40 years. It was bought in 1980 by Ilse and Christoph, who were both graduates in oenology. Today, Ilse manages the estate with great dedication together with her children, Olivier and David.
The estate, which had 15 hectares of vines in 1980, now has 35 hectares in AOC Côtes de Provence. The RIEDER family have always cared about the environment and chose to produce their wine using organic farming methods, resulting in accreditation in 2009.
Quality has also not been forgotten and the estate’s vintages are full of complex aromas! The red wine is matured in oak barrels (huge barrels equivalent to several casks) to refine the aromas and tannins. The rosé and white wine mature in a cellar renovated in 2012 and benefiting from the latest technology which allows an impeccable quality to be maintained. No less than 41 medals, including 25 gold, were obtained at the Salon Agricole de Paris!
The estate has also been recognised by its peers, with Ilse Rieder being named Knight of the National Order of Merit in agriculture in 2018.
This haven of peace, bathed in the Provençal sunshine is also a beautiful location for private evening events and receptions. The villas nestled in the garrigue with a natural swimming pool are the perfect place to enjoy a magical break.
Now, let’s set off to meet Christophe Jauffret at the Domaine Jauffret. Today, the estate includes 12 hectares of organically grown vines.
Working in the vineyard is also a family affair here. However, although his father and grandfather took their grapes to the cooperative, Christophe followed in the footsteps of his great-grandfather and offers us his grape varieties as an independent, working as a team with his wife Myriam, who manages the administrative and commercial aspects.
Respect – Empathy – Generosity… these are the watchwords of this winemaker who oversees all the stages of the production process from the vine to the bottle, and who just wants to ‘let it happen and respect nature’.
And nature rewards him well! Whether it is his red wine, or his rosé and white, (all PGI Les Maures), the sophistication of his products, which were limited to begin with, have only gained in their quality without ever losing their authenticity.
This nature lover, who has also won several silver and bronze medals at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris and who has been praised by many locals for the quality of his products, would (much to our delight) like to build his own cellar and open up to the public.
We cannot wait for this cellar to be built! In the meantime, however, you can buy his wine at the producer’s price from the Maison du Terroir, Place Perrin in the village.
Domaine du Blavet
Our wine tour now takes us to the Domaine du Blavet on the road to Marchandise, towards the green oasis of La Bouverie.
The owner, Fréderic Michel, welcomes us and with his natural kindness takes us to explore his 13 hectares of vineyards and his cellar, which was already up and running in 1890.
The Domaine du Blavet is, above all, a family affair. It has been managed by five generations of winegrowers. Today, it is Fréderic who creates the rosé, white and red wine together with his wife Séverine. Fred is an enthusiast who has received many awards (Gold medals at the Concours Internationale de Lyon 2018, a gold medal at the Concours Mondial Féminalise Paris 2018 and a silver medal at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris 2019). He has also been selected to appear in the Guide Hachette.
Concerned about the preserving the environment, his wine is produced using sustainable farming methods.
Fred has many plans. A new cellar, currently under construction, with a public reception area of more than 100 m2 built on the edge of the road and with an unrestricted view of the Rocher de Roquebrune, will soon enable us to taste his Côtes de Provence and local wines.
One thing is certain – this new cellar, built in the cellar of his great-grandparents and where his father was raised, will certainly be a good omen for the estate as well as our taste buds !
Our wine tour continues, and our enjoyment is as strong as ever. Located on the Marchandise road which leads to the Blavet gorges via the green district of La Bouverie and a little after Les Murettes equestrian centre, we reach the renowned Domaine de Marchandise.
Nature envelops us and suddenly our childhood dreams of a free, happy world and a joyful life together come to the surface. The Domaine de Marchandise with its 44 hectares of vineyards surrounding a 19th century farmhouse full of character, with its green meadows and its timeless view of the Rocher de Roquebrune, makes us dream of being on holiday.
Here, we find Marine Chauvier who now manages the estate with her brother-in-law, Philippe Morin and continues the work begun by her father and uncle.
We say here that there is the rosé of Provence, but then there is the rosé of Marchandise! This Côte de Provence is made from fine, local grape varieties and is recognised by all for its subtle and fragrant aromas. The red, also classified as a Côte de Provence, is well structured and with intense tannins, and has long since gained a reputation which goes far beyond the region’s borders.
Let us tell you the family story behind the creation of this heavenly wine. It begins with the arrival of two brothers who were previously owners of a campsite and who were forced out in the 1960s for the construction of the A8 motorway. They found their new calling as winegrowers in this formerly abandoned estate.
The Chauvier brothers were fuelled by a shared passion. They started out with 15 hectares of vines and in less than 40 years succeeded in creating this important local institution. Their winemaking techniques, choice of grape varieties and maceration processes are all highly skilled. Marine and Philippe have remained loyal to the quality of the estate’s wine as started by their elders. Their interest in environmentally-friendly approaches is now resulting in an increasingly high level of taste and environmental quality. Working in a sustainable manner, they joined the ‘ecophyto’ plan in 2009 by becoming a ‘Dephy’ pilot farm under the supervision of the Chamber of Agriculture.
The minimal use of phytosanitary products and very limited mechanical weeding have only reinforced the fine quality of this wine, which has also gained in terms of flavour.
‘Vignoble et découverte’ accreditation